A five-member delegation from Help Age Ghana last Tuesday called on a Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs Benita Okity Duah, as part of activities lined up for 2013.
The UN General Assembly designated October 1 as International Day of Older Persons on December 14, 1990. This year, the occasion is being used to create awareness of the vast divide between the life that elderly people want and the reality they often have to come to terms with.
The President of HelpAge Ghana, Professor Nana Araba Apt, said it was important for the country to take up the issue of the aged very seriously since old people formed an overwhelming percentage of the people in the country.
She said over the years, Ghana had not taken issues of the aged seriously, explaining that it was not good for the economic development of the country.
Prof. Apt said older persons must be encouraged to take up leadership roles in order to bring out their experiences and contribution to issues of development.
She said the current retirement age was not feasible because it was possible for persons above the age of 60 to continue working actively to reduce the burden on the government to develop the economy.
She appealed to the government to include health-related issues concerning the aged in the National Health Insurance Scheme.
Mrs Okity Duah lauded the efforts of HelpAge towards the improvement of conditions of the aged in the country.
She noted that issues relating to the aged had been neglected for far too long, and said re-alignment of the ministry would facilitate efforts to address the challenges.
In a statement, the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, called for the removal of barriers hampering the full integration of older persons in the society, while protecting their rights and dignity.
He said: 'We often hear people talk about revering older persons for their wisdom, but older persons also want to have a voice.'
He said older persons were calling for a world where all had food, shelter, clean water and sanitation, and access to basic health services and education.
'I have included these messages in my vision for a transformative post-2015 development agenda, which is set out in my report, 'A Life of Dignity for All.'
The statement said the global community had reached a critical moment in the collective efforts to address poverty and usher in a better future.
It noted that the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was fast approaching, while discussions on shaping a vision for development beyond that date were intensifying.
It said in this effort, we must address shifting demographics, especially the needs and concerns of the world's increasing number of older persons.
'By 2050, the number of older persons will be twice the number of children in developed countries, and the number of older persons in developing countries is expected to double. This trend will have profound effects on countries and individuals.
'There is broad recognition that the ageing population presents both a significant opportunity and a challenge.
'The opportunity is to benefit from the many contributions older persons make to society. The challenge is to act now on this understanding through the adoption of policies that promote social inclusion and inter-generational solidarity,' it stated.