Open access peer-reviewed chapter - ONLINE FIRST

The Realisation of Human Rights Issues of Older People in Contemporary Ireland to Ensure Equal Life Opportunities

Written By

Trudy Corrigan

Submitted: December 8th, 2021 Reviewed: February 11th, 2022 Published: April 8th, 2022

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.103672

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Human Rights in the Contemporary World Edited by Trudy Corrigan

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Human Rights in the Contemporary World [Working Title]

Dr. Trudy Corrigan

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Abstract

Across the world, there is a growing ageing population. The number of older people living longer is unprecedented in our contemporary world. The longevity dividend has now ensured that people are living for a longer time than ever before. It is anticipated that by 2050, the world’s population of people aged over 60 years of age will double from 1 billion to 2.1 billion. The number of people aged 80 years and over is expected to triple between 2020 and 2050 to reach 426 million. The population of older people aged 65 plus years of age and older in Ireland was estimated at approximately 696,300 in 2019 and it is estimated to double to 1.56 million by 2051. This is an increase from 11.0% of the population in 2009 to 14.1% in 2018. In recent years, issues for older people, such as the ability to continue to live in their community, to have ease of access to health care, to have access to workplace training, and to ensure equal life chances, are issues of importance for people as they age. This is increasingly perceived within the framework of human rights as guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

Keywords

  • older people
  • human rights
  • equal life opportunities

1. Introduction

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an extremely important document that was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on December 10, 1948 [1, 2]. This document established for the first time that human rights were to be universally protected. Today, it is translated into over 500 languages. It is universally recognised and has been influential in the adoption of more than seventy human rights treaties across the world. Yet, there is much more to be done to ensure that it is upheld in all countries, across all cultures, and across all geographic boundaries. Article 1 states that ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood’. Perhaps this might need to be amended today to represent sisterhood as well as a brotherhood in a spirit of equality and respect between men and women in all representations of all gender, ages, culture, and beliefs. Article 7 highlights that all are equal before the law and are due equal protection free from discrimination. The template has been universally accepted to determine why human rights need to be upheld for people across the world regardless of culture, ethnicity, sexuality, age, and beliefs.

The strong emphasis on equal protection of the law as enshrined in the UDHR is very relevant in contemporary Ireland, especially in relation to protection against ageism and ageist attitudes in the workplace. The Employment Equality Acts promulgated from 1998 to 2015 to ban discrimination in employment on a number of grounds including age [3]. Yet this has not protected people from being denied access to the workplace or denied promotional opportunities. Frequently, there have been cases in the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) from older workers who have to leave the workplace because of discrimination based on their age. Ageism or negative perceptions of older people has emerged because of stereotypes, prejudice, and general behaviour towards older people. Age Action—An organisation founded as a leading advocacy organisation for older people in Ireland—is a charity registered organisation that promotes positive ageing and the rights of older people in Ireland. This organisation, together with other organisations with a similar goal, aims to influence policy to address the digital exclusion of older people. This is chiefly to support older people to continue to live in their own homes should they wish to do so. They highlight why ageism is harmful since it leads to poorer health, social isolation, and earlier deaths and can even cost an economy billions, especially in health care and provision. A major issue for many older adults is stereotyping which frequently makes them feel no longer useful in society. Frequently, these stereotypes are classified as discrimination based on age.

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2. Loneliness and older people

For health reasons, the western world frequently deems it a better option to have older people living in nursing homes which are also referred to as residential care. Although most retirement or nursing homes provide adequate facilities for older people who are unable to continue to live in their own homes for health reasons, such adults once removed from their homes and local community sometimes start to feel isolated and lonely. Such feelings not only add up to a human rights issue but also to health care issues, such as dealing with loneliness or suffering from depression.

During their study, Fayoka et al. [4] evaluated a total of 33 reviews pertaining to older people living both in the community and in institutionalised contexts. Their findings revealed that loneliness and social isolation among older people mostly result from family members moving away from home, the death of a loved one, a decrease in income, or the weakening of their own health and abilities. Factors such as these do not only have a major impact on the lives of older people but also result in them having less opportunity to engage with people of different age groups and cultures. Albeit having a negative effect on the older people living within communities, many older people are found to prefer to continue to live in the community in which they have lived for many years.

Where older people are found to be excluded or isolated from those around them, they can subsequently experience loneliness once they have retired or have reached pension age. The retirement age can differ across countries but is usually between 60 and 70 years of age. Some of the common reasons for becoming socially isolated include leaving the workplace, disability or illness, and no longer being needed within the family. The issue of loneliness is a growing concern across the world and in particular in the western world due to the impact thereof on the health care services and support structures necessary to adequately care for older people. In North America, loneliness is not just experienced by older people but by younger people and this has increased since COVID in 2019. Loneliness itself is often referred to as a pandemic. Pervasive loneliness ‘has widespread effects’ said Professor Bert Uchino, a professor at the University of Utah who studies relationships and health. Loneliness is strongly linked to mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. He states that ‘evidence is pointing to the fact that relationships—the kinds of bonds you have with people, how close you are, how connected you feel to others—impact physical health as well’. Professor Uchino’s report [5] found several factors which were associated with increased loneliness and in particular feelings of loneliness experienced by people in 2019.

This report found that loneliness was more common in men. It found that 63% of men were lonely compared to 58% of women. Social media was also a factor with 73% of frequent social media users being considered to be lonely compared to 52% of users who rarely use social media. Feelings of isolation were prevalent across all generations. People aged between 18 and 22 years old had the highest average loneliness scale on the 80 point scale (about 50), while older people born between the 1940s and the early 1960s had the lowest (about 43). The report highlights that, while loneliness is usually attributed to older people, it can affect people across all age groups and it does need to be addressed. What is frequently attributed to addressing loneliness is the need to have meaningful relationships whether in the workplace or our lives. In addition, participation in creative and meaningful activities has also been highlighted to address issues of loneliness across generations.

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3. Human rights and older people

In Ireland, human rights and equality issues facing older persons were evaluated by the Irish Citizens Assembly in 2017. It highlighted that age is an equality ground under Irish Law and this means that age-related discrimination is prohibited in employment and in accessing goods and services. However, despite the existence of this law, the Commission acknowledged that there were significant human rights and equality issues facing older people in Ireland (The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission) [6]. The issues which they highlighted referred to gender inequality, deprivation of liberty in care, reporting of abuse, and other issues pertinent to older people. Older people have the right to receive safe, high-quality care and services, and to be treated with dignity and respect. Good quality care requires respect and honest communication with and for older people and this includes teamwork with family members and/or health care providers. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education.

There are, however, inequalities that exist and these include the increased rising costs of long-term care, the rights of older people while in care, and safety measures to ensure that older people are not abused. Where it does happen the correct support systems need to be in place to ensure that the older person has the right to report the abuse and to ensure that it is acted upon through the correct procedures. The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission has stated that its work is to advocate for the protection of human rights. Everyone has the right to have equal opportunities. This means that everyone has the right to take part in the economic, political, social, or cultural life of the state. To uphold the principles of human rights is also to understand the value of diversity within society. This is to respect and embrace people of all ages, cultures, diversity, and beliefs. It is to respect their rights to fair treatment and to eradicate discrimination based on age, gender, or culture. However, some older people in Ireland over 60 years of age have experienced a pervasive and subtle form of prejudice and discrimination. This is in the form of ageist attitudes which regard them either as invisible or no longer useful in the workplace. While there are many efforts to address these prejudices and stereotypes, there is still much more work to be done. This is in particular to influence policy and practice and the structures which need to eradicate these practices, such as management structures in the workplace.

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4. The right to continue to live in one’s own community

It is increasingly becoming a fundamental right for older people to age well within their own community. For this to happen appropriate health care support service need to be put in place to ensure safe and healthy environments for older people so that they can continue to live in. In such environments, the highest standards should be maintained to assure that older people remain physically fit, mentally stimulated, live meaningful lives, and have the best life opportunities These are factors that are very relevant to their overall good health and well-being. On June 3, 2021, Age Action joined the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) for the launch of their report [7] ‘Human Rights in a Pandemic’. This was to highlight the recent experiences of older people based on their living with the pandemic. This was especially in the context of many older people feeling isolated and lonely as a result of their being required to cocoon or isolate at home for important health reasons, such as COVID-19.

This took place in 2020. This request by the Irish government was chiefly to protect older people for health reasons. They were requested to stay at home due to the increased fatalities caused by the pandemic in retirement homes and among older people in the community. The increase of deaths in nursing homes was attributed to the spread of COVID-19 by transmission within the community. This approach put a spotlight on the issue of isolation and loneliness experienced by many older people for a number of years. In addition, it placed a spotlight on the issues for older people who understood the important health issues at this time but who also felt powerless or lacked a sense of agency or voice in government and in particular in health policies during this time. Age Action through its CEO focused its attention on the issue of older people living in nursing homes and the community. The pandemic highlighted how older people felt isolated due to COVID-19. This highlighted how their voice, agency, and sense of independence need to be protected now and in the future. It was suggested that there should be an establishment of a Commissioner for older people to protect the voice of older people, especially in relation to issues, such as institutional policy and practice at the government level. Age Action believes that one of the first roles of the Commissioner for older people should be to raise public awareness of ageism and to ensure that negative or demeaning stereotypes of ageing and older people should be eradicated.

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5. What are human rights age care?

The guarantee in [8] the Irish Constitution of Article 40.1 which states that ‘all citizens shall be held equal before the law’ should mean that older people have access to the means to have their rights upheld. One of the most common issues for older people in Ireland today is to be aware of their rights to access health services in their homes and their communities. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) recognises the right to health [9]. This is in relation to the access of all citizens and the overall quality of the health care systems available to all. This also includes access to goods and services for all citizens. Ireland supports the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Many organisations in Ireland that care for older people and who advocate for positive ageing have stated that without legislation it can sometimes be difficult for older people to access important information to access these services. Sometimes it is difficult for older people, especially older people who live alone, to obtain information about services relevant to them at important stages of their life. For example, if they become suddenly unwell, information about discharge from hospital, dealing with a new disability, or the diagnosis of long-term or life-limiting illness, this information may not be always available in a timely manner to them. Access to health services in the community and information about these services is hugely important for older people. This is sometimes only sought by the older person when they have become ill and when decisions need to be made urgently about their ability to remain living in their own home or where they and their family have to choose to make a decision for them to live in a nursing home or residential care. Funding for residential care can frequently be a huge factor in this decision. Over the years there have been government schemes to support older people and their families to make this decision, such as the [10]. Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act 2009. Despite this, it is still a very difficult decision for many older people to decide to move from their own home and their community. In addition, the rights and liberties available to them while they are in residential care can also impact the quality of their lives for better or for worse. This depends on the support systems available in residential care to enable them to live full and healthy lives. The key issue for many older people in Ireland today is the right to continue to live in their homes and their community with the proper health care services provided. This includes the right to access to carers and family supports even where the needs of the older person are very dependent on external health care services to enable them to live full and healthy lives in their own home.

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6. The need for a human rights-based approach

What is a Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA) when accessing the needs of older people? [11]. The Human Rights and Older People Working Group came together and was inclusive of a number of organisations that have the interests of older people in Ireland at the core of their mission statement and work. What all these organisations had in common was prioritising the needs of older people through the lens of human rights and older people. The members of the Group were The Alzheimer Society of Ireland; Irish Council for Civil Liberties; Age and Opportunity; Third Age; Public Interest Law Alliance; Age Action; Active Ageing in Partnership and Active Retirement Ireland. They met in March 2013 and this was to initially discuss the issues for older people in Ireland today. This was in particular to evaluate many of these issues in the context of human rights. The working group wanted to address many of the issues for older people by using a human rights-based approach. The Healthy Ireland Strategy promotes a positive ageing strategy. They state that the key principles guiding their strategy being underpinned by the UN Strategy of older persons. These principles are independence, participation, care, self-fulfillment, and dignity. A workshop was held on June 21 2013 by the Human Rights and Older People Working Group to bring together a range of perspectives and identify core issues. This was subsequently developed into a report. The findings suggested that human rights were to be embraced in all decision-making relevant to the older person. At the core of this aim was the need to respect equality and to ensure the non-discrimination of older people.

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7. Age discrimination in the workplace

The Equal Status Acts 2000–2010 and the Employment Equality Acts 1998–2010 include age as one of the nine grounds on which discrimination is outlawed in employment and access to services [12]. The Employment Equality Act currently allows for an upper age limit to be included in a contract of employment, in certain public service jobs, and protected by law. However, this does not align with the EU Directive 2002/78 EC which only permits age discrimination where it can be objectively justified [13]. Access to cost-effective insurance is one of the areas in which older people have reported discrimination. This is where older people believe that if they are in good health, this can be overlooked based on actuarial evidence that older people are at a higher risk. Many older people question the validity of this evidence based on their own history of having good health. Active Retirement Ireland which is also a charity registered organisation that originated to promote positive ageing is working with Public Interest Law Alliance to pursue the experience of older people here in Ireland. While the equality legislation related to employment and the Health Act 2007 [14] are regulations to protect the rights of older people, there are still much more policies needed to improve the legislation for the rights of older people in the workplace and to age well in their local community. In 2020, Corrigan and Morgan [15] compiled a comprehensive working document for the National Anti-Bullying Centre in Dublin City University which highlighted the extent to which ageism and bullying affect older workers by undertaking an extensive review of the literature at a global level. This was chiefly conducted among industrialised nations within the western world. They found that stereotyping of older workers is a prohibitive factor for the recruitment, training, and promotional opportunities of older workers.

Stereotyping of older workers is a negative characteristic that can directly prevent the career paths of older people from recruitment or access to promotional opportunities. Frequently behaviours and attitudes towards older workers are instrumental in encouraging ageism in the workplace. Much literature at the international level confirms the high levels of workplace discrimination of older workers. There have been a number of important empirical studies over the last 20 years that evaluate the perception of the stereotyping of older workers [16, 17, 18, 19, 20]. Negative stereotypes about older workers may include perceptions that they are poor performers, resistant to change or technology, more expensive to the company, have less ability to learn, and have shorter tenure [19]. The positive characteristics attributed to older workers are also somewhat generalised as being reliable and dependable. Finklestein et al. [17] ask are these characteristics or stereotypes accurate? Their understanding is based on the concept that a stereotype is a generalisation. Because of this, it cannot be an accurate evaluation for every worker.

Posthuma and Campion [19] have also evaluated stereotyping of older workers. Their study found that many older worker stereotypes have neither been supported nor have been fully investigated Wolfson et al. [21] have also investigated the stereotyping of older workers. An important factor with the research on ageing and in particular of the research on older workers concerns the hard evidence in relation to intellectual functioning. The research which is chiefly based on psychometric studies as well as work-based outcomes highlights that the common perception regarding older people may be quite wrong.

What the findings found was that an increase in age is not usually associated with lower levels of cognitive functioning. Salthouse [22] suggests that some elements of intellectual functioning (as measured usually by IQ tests) decline to a small extent from age 40 onwards and more especially from age 75–80 years. The capacity to learn new material which is called fluid intelligence is especially affected. However, other aspects remain largely unaffected. Knowledge, capabilities, and skills, which have been learned in earlier life, can remain with the person at the later stage in their life. This is known as crystallised intelligence. Where this knowledge or skills has declined, older people learn to compensate in many ways for those areas which have been affected by the intellectual decline. These include strategies that maximise their strengths and their experiences of similar events in the past.

The United States study by Yanson et al. [23] highlighted those older workers were more likely to report incidents of workplace bullying than any other type of difficult experience for them. Namie [24] also carried out a study at the Workplace Bullying Institute. This research wanted to establish in detail the correlation of age differences associated with the bullying of older people. For employers who were aged less than 30 years, just under 10% said that they had been bullied, while for people aged 50–54 years the percentage who said that they had been bullied was 17%. Research in Sweden and Australia has added to the growing body of research. The work of Einarsen and Skogstad [25] evaluated the frequency of bullying at work and this research aimed to identify risk groups. Based on data from 14 different surveys from Norway, it showed that older employees had a higher risk of bullying than younger employees. Bennington [26] studied age discrimination in the recruitment of prospective employees in Australia. Here the findings showed evidence of age discrimination. This varied from the language used in advertisements to reports of employers when they were selecting potential employees. The evidence from this study highlights that ageism can be associated with the early stages of recruitment of prospective employees but also in the promotion process. Vasconelos [27] study was based on 100 companies. These were shown to be the best companies to work for in Brazil. This study wanted to see if these companies demonstrated any age bias and discrimination. If this was the case, what was the frequency of this form of bias? The results showed that there was a bias towards older workers in these companies. What this study highlighted was that there were inadequate policies to address demographic diversity in the workplace.

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8. Law and legislation and the role of management related to older workers

The research which has been conducted to evaluate the levels of stereotyping and discrimination of older workers has highlighted a key important aspect to address these issues. This is awareness of legislation that prevents discrimination against older workers. When awareness of legislation is not present in the policies and structures of the organisation, negative stereotyping of older workers tends to exist. This compares to less discrimination and stereotyping of older workers when there is greater awareness of the legislation. Cox and Barron [28] highlighted that when employers and employees were made aware of the laws which prevent age discrimination, they perceived older workers as more competent and capable of change was required of particular processes or tasks in the workplace. When this was compared to another study where employers and employees were made aware of the limitations of legislation in preventing age discrimination of older workers, they were likely to use stereotyped perceptions such as that older employees were less suitable for their jobs. Gordon and Arvey [18], in their research, outlined that what was extremely important in terms of job recruitment was the match between the age of the prospective employee and the specific knowledge and skills required for the job. In their study, they found evidence that if holistic aspects of a worker did not link with the requirements of the job specification, then age became an important factor. But if age was the only relevant feature, then the extent to which older workers were discriminated against was not a key issue. Richardson et al. [29] did not support these findings. This study evaluated the extent to which prospective job applicants (aged 33–66 years) suitability related to work-related competencies as well as age. This study highlighted that where there was a preference for hiring workers in relatively younger age groups, then the oldest applicants (over 54 years) were least likely to be employed by the organisation. There is evidence that the perceptions and behaviours of management have a crucial role in either preventing or supporting ageism in the workplace.

A study, by Nilsson [30] of over 900 managers in local authorities in Sweden, found that a major influence in their attitude to older workers was their own retirement plans. If managers were planning to work beyond 66, they had very positive views of older workers but if they were planning earlier retirement, they perceived older workers as slower and resistant to change. McMullin and Marshall [31] showed how economic concerns of management and ageism can interact in certain circumstances. A study by Browne et al. [32] examined how the workplace psychosocial environment (including bullying) influences retirement intentions. Their meta-analysis is quite extensive and their study evaluated how low job satisfaction and loss of control over the work environment were associated with both intentions to retire and actual retirement. While it is not very clear whether bullying was directly related to intentions to retire, behaviours and attitudes towards older workers can frequently influence their decision to retire from the workplace. McGann et al.’s [33] study interviewed older Australian workers with a view to examining their perceptions of events leading to retirement. The study showed that many of such workers perceived themselves to be on the periphery of the employment market.

Despite legislation and increased opportunities to continue working, many of these workers felt an overwhelming sense of insecurity existed for them between work and retirement. Instead of feeling positive about the changes regarding longer working lives, these older workers felt devalued and no longer needed in the workplace. These perceptions of feeling undermined or undervalued despite new opportunities and new legislation to remain in the workplace are frequently the experience of many older workers. In 2018, the Public Service Superannuation [34] in Ireland was signed into law to enable people to continue to remain in work until 70 years of age. The increase in the pension age together with rising house prices and rent has made this not just a preferred option but a very important career decision for many older employees. In April 2018, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission [35] published new guidelines for employers to ensure that older workers who want to work beyond the age of 65 are permitted to do so. Despite this new legislation, older workers can feel that the attitudes, behaviours, and perceptions, in particular of managers can prevent them from working until the new retirement age of 70. What is needed is a change in these attitudes and behaviours and an awareness of the legislation to ensure that older workers can remain in the workplace and contribute in a very meaningful way.

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9. What are the benefits of feeling meaningful and engaged in our communities as we age?

What does the study of psychology tell us about how people feel when they are engaged and active in their societies? There are many possibilities but the most successful way for older people to feel visible and valued is when the appropriate structures, policies, and behaviours are in place in society to make them feel valued. Studies show that it is linked with physical as well as mental well-being. This in turn leads to higher levels of engagement, satisfaction, and motivation. Humans have a strong sense of relational fairness (how we feel treated when this is compared to the treatment of others). This is very much promoted and developed by the mindset, by the policies and structures which are in place to support relational fairness, access, inclusion, and equality for all.

For older people what they see, think, and believe is impacted by both the internal and external experiences that they experience on a day-to-day basis. Positive ageing is supported through good economic, health, political, educational, cultural policies and practices which surround them every day. Attributes such as finding other people empathetic to the opportunities and challenges that arise as older people age can have a positive outcome on their ability to age well. When their intention to remain independent for as long as they can is supported through the structures that are in place in government, in education, in health, and in the workplace; this supports healthy and independent living. This is also affected by appropriate legislation to prevent ageism and to have a positive impact on the attitudes, perceptions, and behaviours of others.

A key aspect of healthy ageing is to continue to be creative and to stay positive as people age. The psychologist Csikszentmihalyi [36] tried to understand the experience of creativity which he defined as ‘flow’. He believes that great ideas come when you lose yourself in your work and creative moments. This, he believes, is that the best creative experiences come from working in collaboration with others. The source of creativity comes from our imagination and this allows us to imagine all kinds of possibilities for ageing which move beyond the narrative of ageing that has been imposed on us for many years but now seems to be simply outdated. This new understanding of ageing as a time to be positive, to be creative, and to be connected to the wider community is one to be embraced by both older and younger people. This is important in helping younger people to understand what it is to age well. If younger people have been presented with a narrative of the othering of older people then many of them do not relish the stage when they will reach this time in their lives. But if the narrative is changed to embrace ageing as a time to look forward to and a time of many creative opportunities, then this will be a time to be cherished and embraced.

Being a lifelong learner is also a very important part of staying physically and mentally well. But what if our structures in education, in the workplace, and in society do not allow for this kind of lifelong learning opportunities? For many older people if these opportunities are not provided close to home then there is no possibility of them participating either because of lack of transport or lack of ability to access these opportunities if they are not cost-effective. Today technology is more important than ever for older people to stay connected. They need to have access to training, to technology, and to skills to enable them to stay connected to family and friends and to keep their minds stimulated. Much of our education structures are built around the professionalisation of knowledge for usefulness in the workplace. What if this could somehow be changed in part to allow learning for learning sake? What benefits could this have for the wider community in terms of what it has to offer to older people across the world to participate in learning opportunities where they have an opportunity to share this with younger people but also to keep their minds stimulated as they age? Many older people during their lifetime have led organisations or they have been leaders, now when they retire this is no longer a role yet they have much talents, knowledge, and skills developed to be an effective leader. Can society promote this role in safe spaces where older people have an opportunity to share these talents, for example, with university students? This is to advocate for safe spaces in education, in our communities, and in the workplace which promote intergenerational dialogue, activities, and engagement between older and younger people together.

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10. Conclusion and recommendations

To grow older in a safe environment where older people are valued and visible is the continued work of governments, organisations, and educators to ensure that older people have a right to continue to live in their own community with the appropriate health care services available to them. In addition, it is to ensure that they have opportunities to keep their mind stimulated through relevant educational and creative opportunities. The workplace is a key area where older people need to find that there are equal opportunities for them to be recruited, to participate in training opportunities, and to be allowed to advance through promotional pathways when the opportunities arise. Loneliness and isolation for older people can be addressed when there are many opportunities provided for them to engage in meaningful activities across generations, across cultures, and in a diversity of social, creative, and workplace contexts. The American professor Brene Brown [37] discussed the 10 guideposts for Wholehearted Living. She sees this as the ability of people to cultivate ten attributes, such as cultivating a resilient spirit. The attributes she outlines are important attributes for older people to remain healthy and well. Attributes, such as cultivating a resilient spirit or cultivating calm and stillness, can take place when older people feel valued in their communities. Cultivating laughter, song, and dance and cultivating creativity can be fulfilled when older people continue to have an opportunity to engage in creative and social spaces relevant to healthy living. Cultivating meaningful work can be supported when older people are facilitated to do this in the workplace and their daily lives. These can only happen when the appropriate policy, practice, and structures are in place to support this form of high-quality living as people age. Awareness of the legislation which prevents discrimination based on age and in addition, awareness of the rights of older people through the lens of human rights will ensure that they continue to live full and healthy lives. This is not only in Ireland but across the world. They deserve to do this in the spirit of being valued for what they have done in the past and for how they will continue to be empowered and valued in the future. The implementation of human rights and human rights guidelines relevant for older people across the world is hugely important to ensure that older people flourish are visible and are valued in their communities.

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Written By

Trudy Corrigan

Submitted: December 8th, 2021 Reviewed: February 11th, 2022 Published: April 8th, 2022