We should see ageing in a positive way. President George Vella said this during the Active Ageing Awards, where he defined this event as an occasion to celebrate the qualities and the valuable role of the elderly in society.
This year, the United Nations chose the theme “Resilience of Older Persons in a Changing World” for the International Day of the Elderly, with particular emphasis on the contribution of older women as well as the elderly as active contributors to climate change. The President explained that the activism by the elderly in the academic, sporting, cultural and intergenerational fields clearly shows the importance for the elderly to remain active members of society.
“This is beneficial to the elderly as they feel part of their community. At the same time, through their activism, they are making a direct contribution to the economic and social development of the country as well as to environmental protection,” added the President.
During his speech, the President explained that the activeness and independence of the elderly is translated into happiness, helping a lot in both the physical and the mental health of the individual. He said that both the experience and the knowledge of the elderly are priceless. He added that this also applies to the elderly who continue to work after retirement age, as they can pass on their wealth of experience to younger employees. The President appealed so that the knowledge of the elderly is neither lost nor ignored.
Acknowledging that the population of developed countries is becoming increasingly older, he reiterated the importance of having a country where pensions and healthcare in the community are considered essential so that all the elderly are given the right to an adequate and dignified quality of life.
He congratulated Ms Betty Berry, winner of the Active Ageing Award, and said that she was described as one of the most active volunteers on the island of Gozo in the rescue and rehabilitation of stray animals.
Meanwhile, when the war broke out in Ukraine, Betty also took care of two families for six whole weeks until she found them shelter in Gozo.
Minister for Active Ageing Jo Etienne Abela said that the activity organised on the International Day for the Elderly is aimed to celebrate the dedication, commitment and work of the elderly, inspiring their peers to remain active.
The winners are:
Active Ageing Award – Ms Betty Berry
Sport Ageing Award – Mr James Evans
Intergenerational Solidarity Award – Mr Henri Diacono
Academic Ageing Award – Prof. Victor Mallia Milanes
Cultural Ageing Award – Mr John Vella
Link to footage: https://we.tl/t-OlQGKTnIeG
Link to speech: https://we.tl/t-HRPviaYDbQ