HomeLetter to Their Majesties. For a caring society in the post-covid era

Letter to Their Majesties. For a caring society in the post-covid era

Dearest Majesties:

We are writing to you with great enthusiasm after a year that will not be easy to forget; although we are very much looking forward to it.

In the past 2020 we have witnessed how, in a few days, a pandemic turned our lives upside down showing the vulnerability of our specie. A virus that emerged in China has left a deep scar on our souls and much pain from the loss of so many lives, mostly older people who have too often left in the worst possible way: without company or comfort.

All this has shown us our interdependence and the need to take steps in building a caring society. At the end of the year it is time to take stock, and we want to do so from the point of view that concerns us: that of the elderly who have lived with fear and uncertainty, but also with endurance and patience these months.

Dear Majesties, we live in societies where we can enjoy long lives. We are living longer and better. We should feel proud and fortunate about this. However, this crisis has shown, once again, that there is a long way to go before older people enjoy the same rights as other citizens.

Your Majesties, given your position and influence, we would like to convey to you a few requests, with the confidence of counting on your consideration and support, so that next year our world will be a little more friendly and fair with age:

Growing old is something you do throughout your life.

Not when our hair starts to get lighter, when our working life ends, or when we can enjoy discounts in some services due to our age... That is why their Majesties have to get to work so that ageing is present in the agendas of public servants, in all of them; not only in those who deal with social or health services. To age well, action is needed in education, urban planning, housing, decent work, culture...

As your Majesties already know, older people are not all equal.

Our extensive life experience makes us very diverse. However, people are often portrayed "as a homogeneous group", "an age group" that only creates problems, expenses, and is not given any social value. In this pandemic year, "ageism" has emerged with particular harshness, playing a role in many of the decisions and messages adopted over the past few months. This cannot happen again. It is unfair, ineffective and inefficient.

Caring is the activity that unites us and allows us to survive as a species.

No one would be alive, including their Majesties, if someone did not take care of them. We need legal and economic measures and campaigns that make visible and value the importance of the exchange of care throughout life.

One last request that we would like you to pass on to the person in charge.

To listen and take into account people's opinions and preferences
as to where, how and with whom they want to live and be cared for, especially when difficulties arise in coping with themselves.

Your Majesties, we do not want to abuse. We would be happy if any of these tasks were to become a reality in 2021.

Count on the enthusiasm and commitment of a large part of the citizens. After all, investing in ageing is investing in a good life for all people. We look forward to seeing you and wish you health and happiness in 2021.

Text written by the author based on reflections and testimonies received over the past year.

Author

Researcher at Matia Instituto

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