In 2019, there were over 703 million people aged 65 years or older in the world. In the next 30 years, that figure is projected to rise to over 1.5 billion. Whilst advances in healthcare, conflict resolution and climate conservation are helping humans to live longer, that doesn’t mean all elderly people are living adequately in their formative years.
It is widely believed that as we get older we accumulate more wealth, but in actual fact, the risk of poverty increases as a person gets older. This is because as we get older we become less agile and our cognitive function declines, which results in the ability to work a job and earn a wage diminish. Most people will have saved money for when they retire, but alongside better healthcare comes rising costs, and that means most elderly people spend their savings on trying to stay as healthy as possible.
The situation differs from country to country, as do attitudes towards caring for older relatives. That being said, one thing that remains the same is the inability of people living in poverty and in deprived areas to give elderly people the care and nurturing they need in later life.
If you are looking for a way to look after the generation who have come before us – no matter where they are in the world – here are some causes you might want to lend your support to.
HelpAge is a worldwide organization that spans across 86 countries with the aim of improving the lives of elderly people everywhere. They work across a range of causes, including reducing elder abuse. Elder abuse can take many forms, including physical/violent assault, sexual abuse, emotional abuse (intimidation, guilt tripping and isolation), neglect through the form of squalid living conditions and food/drink restriction, and financial abuse. This is something around 1 in 6 elderly people suffer with, which makes HelpAge’s work all the more important.
Age International works around the world to improve the lives of elderly people everywhere. A lot of their work focuses around pensions which can alleviate many people from poverty and help them to live in a dignified state. In 2019-2020, Age International helped almost 1.3 million elderly people receive a pension, the benefits of which extend to access to food, shelter and healthcare.
Children of Adam
Initially set up to help children, Children of Adam do a lot of work that benefits wider communities in some of the most deprived countries in the world. Their Gift a Vision appeal in Pakistan aims to operate on those with cataracts to help them keep their vision and live a higher quality of life. If blindness is a cause close to your heart, this is an appeal you might want to get behind.
Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly
Little Brothers is a US based charity that works to reduce loneliness amongst elderly people in North America. They do this by providing companionship to those who don’t have friends and family around them. Social isolation is a big issue with those who get older, and so far, more than 52,000 elderly people registered with Little Brothers have benefitted from its services and have been welcomed into new families.
If you don’t want to donate directly to charity, or if you can’t find one you like the sound of, visiting your local residential care home and volunteering to host activity days, or writing letters to older people who don’t have any social interaction are both equally as great ways to support the older generation – wherever they are in the world.