"The ideal old age might be likened to a magnificent sunset. Just as the deep red of the setting sun holds the promise of a beautiful tomorrow, a life well lived conveys the gift of hope to future generations," writes Daisaku Ikeda, president of the SGI.
Many more people are living longer, and in more and more countries the proportion of younger people in the population is decreasing. This causes fundamental changes in society, making it necessary for us to reassess the way we approach our lives--the journey through birth, aging and death, or "the life course," as some people have termed it. Mutual learning across the generations should mean all of us can live our lives in dignity.
What are the economic and social effects of the changing average age of the population? How can vulnerable groups access their fair share of society's resources? How can we develop medical resources and community services to respond to these changing demographics? Can we ensure that in our cities, towns and villages, the contribution of older people is valued, whilst also improving accessibility of public facilities?
Sadly, despite inspiring attempts to tackle these issues, elder abuse, age discrimination and stereotyping of older adults act as significant barriers to maximizing the potential of all. A movement toward an international Convention on the Rights of Older Persons is now under way, just as there is a Convention on the Rights of the Child. But whether or not the legal instruments are in place, we need to recognize that, in order for old age to be a time of fruition and fulfillment, we need to cherish and love life in all its different aspects and phases. Perhaps only then can we truly develop our inner strength, and--remembering that we too are becoming older--continue to shine brilliantly and advance with ever greater vitality.
Source: SGI Quarterly