The COVID-19 crisis has put a spotlight on “ageist” attitudes and language COPE Galway warned ahead of the launch of its annual report for 2019 on Monday.
The annual report from COPE showed that it supported 2,984 people in Galway in 2019, for issues ranging from homelessness and domestic abuse, to older people in need of social and nutritional support.
This marks a 20% increase in the demand for COPE’s services from the year before.
Speaking ahead of the launch of the report tomorrow, COPE Galway CEO Jacqui Horan said “Today, we want to highlight the valuable contribution older people offer our communities when, too often, old age can be seen as a burden.”
“While COVID-19 has been important in prioritising safety, there have been some consequential effects we hadn’t anticipated and need to address”.
Research from NUIG cited concerning evidence that older people are being viewed as “mass consumers” of resources
“This devalues the status of older people as equal citizens and the perceived value that we place on their contributions, and their lives, in our society,” Jacqui Horan said.
Professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights emphasised that human rights do not diminish as we get older.
“She acknowledged how COPE Galway has brought attention to the specific needs and rights of older people, while at the same time affirming an older person’s autonomy and dignity.”
This is evident in the number of older people who volunteer with COPE she added, with 31% of volunteers being over-65 and 18% over-70.
COPE helped over 700 older people to live independent lives last year through providing vital nutritional, social and practical supports through their senior support service.
The determinants of healthy ageing are many and varied and relate to individuals and environments,” Jacqui added.
“Achieving equal access to healthy ageing requires concerted global, national and local action – and a decisive end to ageist attitudes.”
correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the report was launched on Sunday, not Monday.