International Day of Older Persons Oct 1

The International Day of Older Persons is a celebration of the older people in all societies, and a reminder to continue developing a society for all ages. It is an opportunity to challenge negative stereotypes and misconceptions about older persons and aging.

“It is widely recognised that older persons are an asset to the society; their wisdom, value-system and experience helps in guiding and mentoring the present generation…..What is important is not merely adding ‘years to life’ but also adding ‘life to years’”.

Uniting Churches are being encouraged to recognise the human rights and dignity of older people on the first Sunday after the United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons. The United Nations established the International Day of Older Persons (IDOP) in 1990 as a way to focus attention around the globe on the barriers to respect and dignity for older people caused by ageism. In 2021 the theme stresses digital equality for older people. Digital access has become a more important issue with the challenges of the COVID pandemic.

Resources from the United Nations on the IDOP, and the 2021 theme are available here.

The  2021 theme is Digital Equity for All Ages predicates the need for access and meaningful participation in the digital world by older persons. The fourth industrial revolution characterized by rapid digital innovation, characterized by exponential growth has transformed all sectors of society including how we live, work and relate to one another.  Technological advances offer great hope for accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet, one-half of the global population is off-line, with the starkest differences reflected between most and least developed countries (87% and 19% respectively) (ITU Facts and Figures 2020). Recent reports by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) indicate that women and older persons experience digital inequity to a greater extent than other groups in society; they either lack access to technologies or are often not benefitting fully from the opportunities provided by technological progress. Meanwhile, as efforts to connect more people are currently under way, new risks have become apparent. For example, cybercrimes and misinformation threaten the human rights, privacy, and security of older people. The rapid speed of adoption of digital technology has outpaced policy and governance at the national, regional, and global levels. The Secretary-General’s Roadmap seeks to address these challenges by recommending concrete action to harness the best of these technologies and mitigate their risks.

Objectives of #UNIDOP2021:
* Ageism & Human Rights
To bring awareness of the importance of digital inclusion of older persons, while tackling stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination associated with digitalization taking into account sociocultural norms and the right to autonomy.
* Sustainable Development
To highlight policies to leverage digital technologies for full achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
* Access & Literacy
To address public and private interests, in the areas of availability, connectivity, design, affordability, capacity building, infrastructure, and innovation.
* Cybersecurity & Ethics
To explore the role of policies and legal frameworks to ensure privacy and safety of older persons in the digital world.
* Accountability
To highlight the need for a legally binding instrument on the rights of older persons and an intersectional person-centered human rights approach for a society for all ages.

Uniting Care resources for Older Persons Sunday 2021

Prayer
God of the unknown, as age draws in on us, irresistible as the tide, make our life’s last quarter the best that there has been. As our strength ebbs, release our inner vitality, all you have taught us over the years; as our energy diminishes increase our compassion, and educate our prayer. You have made us human to share your divine life; grant us the first fruits; make our life’s last quarter the best that there has been. Amen.
(Source: A New Zealand Prayer Book, pg. 747)

Prayers for others
On this United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons, we pray for all who are in their senior years. We pray for churches that run lunches, cafés, clubs and groups of all kinds for older people. We pray that those who have the wisdom of many decades find opportunities to tell their stories. And we pray that all who are lonely in their later years find the love of God shown to them in the love of church communities. Until thy kingdom come. Amen

Prayers for Others
God, parent of us all, you see every one of us as your child, no matter how young or old. You have known us every second of our lives. You gift us every breath, and you sustain us every day.
We hold before you this International Day of the Older Person every adult living in the late autumn of their lives silence … no matter they be rich, or poor, comfortable or struggling; no matter they be well or unwell; no matter what creed, or colour, or faith they belong, we ask your blessing upon them this day.
God of love/Hear our prayer
Loving God, we pray especially for older adults who are lonely: those whose loved ones are gone or those who have never enjoyed the relationships they might have had; those who feel abandoned and unsure of their worth; those who live alone, and who feel isolated even when they are in company. Give to each person the knowledge that you are with them always, and help us to befriend the lonely, sharing with them the companionship we have found in you.
God of love/Hear our prayer
Loving God, we pray for the sick… those afflicted in body, those in pain, those wrestling with disease, or coming to terms with frailty. We pray for the troubled in mind; those whose confidence has been crushed, those who face sorrow or suffering, those who feel their hopes have been dashed and dreams broken, the let-down, the betrayed, the abused. We pray for those who struggle to cope with the pressures of life, who are oppressed by false imagination, or facing the dark of depression. We pray for those afflicted in spirit: all who feel their lives are empty, or who feel they have lost their faith…
Living God, hold on to all who walk through the valley of tears. Minister the consolation that you alone can offer, and give the assurance that those who mourn will be comforted, and those who weep will laugh. Be that sure foundation in people’s lives, that come what may, their knowing of your love and presence with them, will uphold their spirits, and be an endless source of comfort, peace, and joy.
God of love/Hear our prayer
We pray for the dying… That wherever these people are in this moment that you will come as close to them as their very breath and bring your forgiveness and peace. In a moment of silence we name those we know and care for…
God of love/Hear our prayer
Holy One, we know, that every aging heart is held in your hands, young and vibrant to your touch. We see how you use the wisdom, knowledge and experience of the older generations to teach the young, to bring old insight to new problems, and to give love and security where there is uncertainty.
You trusted an old man to build an ark and save humanity from the flood. You brought a child to Abraham and Sarah despite their years, a child who signalled the beginning of Israel. You guided an aging Moses through the desert so he could lead thousands to the promised-land, you gave Zechariah and Elizabeth a son in their old age, a son who would prepare the way for your own, and you gave the aged Simeon and Anna the honour of first recognising the infant Jesus in the temple, seeing someone who no one else saw.
Your continued engagement with older adults is sure; and yet society is so quick to forget this generation. We are sorry.
God of love/Hear our prayer
We hold before you for blessing in thanks those people and organisations who care for needs of older persons in our city… Aged Care facilities, Chaplains and pastoral carers, those who provide in-home care, every person or organisation working to better the lives of our elders.
God of love/Hear our prayer
(Source: Revd. Amy Houben)

Charlie Chaplin
The photo below is Charlie Chaplin at age 26, photographed 100 years ago. Below is a poem he read on his 70th birthday, written by Kim McMillen. 
As I began to love myself
I found that anguish and emotional suffering
are only warning signs that I was living
against my own truth.
Today, I know, this is Authenticity.
As I began to love myself
I understood how much it can offend somebody
if I try to force my desires on this person,
even though I knew the time was not right
and the person was not ready for it,
and even though this person was me.
Today I call this Respect.
As I began to love myself
I stopped craving for a different life,
and I could see that everything
that surrounded me
was inviting me to grow.
Today I call this Maturity.
As I began to love myself
I understood that at any circumstance,
I am in the right place at the right time,
and everything happens at the exactly right moment.
So I could be calm.
Today I call this Self-Confidence.
As I began to love myself
I quit stealing my own time,
and I stopped designing huge projects
for the future.
Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness,
things I love to do and that make my heart cheer,
and I do them in my own way
and in my own rhythm.
Today I call this Simplicity.
As I began to love myself
I freed myself of anything
that is no good for my health –
food, people, things, situations,
and everything that drew me down
and away from myself.
At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism.
Today I know it is Love of Oneself.
As I began to love myself
I quit trying to always be right,
and ever since
I was wrong less of the time.
Today I discovered that is Modesty.
As I began to love myself
I refused to go on living in the past
and worrying about the future.
Now, I only live for the moment,
where everything is happening.
Today I live each day,
day by day,
and I call it Fulfillment.
As I began to love myself
I recognized
that my mind can disturb me
and it can make me sick.
But as I connected it to my heart,
my mind became a valuable ally.
Today I call this connection Wisdom of the Heart.
We no longer need to fear arguments,
confrontations or any kind of problems
with ourselves or others.
Even stars collide,
and out of their crashing, new worlds are born.
Today I know: This is Life!

Charlie Chaplin, aged 26 years

Blessing
Go as beloved of God to grow old in Christ. Be blessed in years and be a blessing to God’s Kingdom. Keep alive the gifts of wisdom received from older friends and become the gift of wisdom for those who follow. Remember you are God’s children even into old age: and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be with you always. Amen.

Salvation Army downloadable resources

Worship-Suggestions-Celebrating-International-Day-of-the-Older-Person-1 2

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon) in placement at Pilgrim Uniting Church, in Adelaide CBD (12 Flinders St). This blog is mainly to resource worship planners for our services, but of course may be useful for others. We have some great writers of music, words for hymns and liturgy at Pilgrim, so this blog also includes their words.
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