Message by President Danny Faure On the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons
Sun, 01 October 2017
Message by President Danny Faure
On the occasion of the
International Day of Older Persons 1st October 2017
“Stepping into the future: Tapping the talents, contributions and participation of older persons in society”.
On this 1st of October, we join the international community to commemorate the International Day of Older Persons. This is an occasion to acknowledge the contribution, past and present of our elderly men and women in the development of our country. It is a time to say thank you and well done for their many achievements and successes. But it is also a time for national reflection and decisive action.
This year’s theme, “Stepping into the future: Tapping the talents, contributions and participation of older persons in society” reminds us that ageing can no longer be viewed as an issue that is separate to development. It is a global theme that reflects the new realities and possibilities of an ageing world population. A theme that inspires, that asks our elderly not to look back on their lives with regret, but to look to the future to what they can still achieve.
Today, our elderly are living longer and have access to better home care, community, social and health services. They still have so much energy and motivation to continue to participate and make a positive contribution in their families and society. We must thus move towards a new paradigm where ageing is seen not as disempowering process but as a natural phase of life where the older person remains valued and is enabled to fully contribute in the various aspects of social, cultural, economic and civic and political life.
Here in Seychelles, We are aware of the challenges as well as the opportunities posed by the current demographic transformation characterised by declining fertility and increasing longevity. We know that our working age population is shrinking while the proportion of older persons is growing. We need to take decisive action. There will be debate on the subject of increasing the retirement from 63 years to 65 years and if agreed this will take effect in the year 2023. Our goal is to maintain adequate living standards for people as they grow older while recognizing and harnessing their skills and experience.
But we cannot address just the economic implications of population ageing. We have to address the issue in a comprehensive and systematic manner. I am pleased to announce that we shall soon be launching the first National Ageing Policy for Seychelles. This policy will provide guidance on how we as a society step into the future and adopt a balanced approach to the provision of social protection and economic goals. It will promote the principles of meaningful, active and healthy ageing. And it will also address issues of long-term care and how we align our health system to respond to the emerging needs of an ageing population.
Our country is determined to face up to this new development challenge. Because we remain convinced that there are so many new possibilities ahead. Our older men and women have always been a force for change. We stand proudly today because they dared to grasp the opportunities that they were given. Today we say thank you. But we also say your contribution is still needed for the sustainable development of Seychelles. You still have a role to play. And we look forward to continue to work together, all Seychellois, men and women, young and old, together, to build a more prosperous and harmonious Seychelles.
I wish all the elderly a Happy and Blessed International Day of Older Persons.