Age does not define one's worth, abilities

PHOTO: The Straits Times

We should debunk the notion that a person's worth and abilities are determined solely by his age ("Do survey on abilities of those above 65" by Dr George Wong Seow Choon; Oct 5).

Such a belief can threaten the creative future we envision for ourselves.

Studies have shown that intellectual capacity can remain stable throughout life, and our ability to learn new things can continue unabated and, when actively exercised, enhances our well-being.

Despite all these, ageism sets a socially defined deadline for people.

At 60, we find ourselves on our community's senior-citizen list, and at 62, many companies expect us to retire.

Gone are the days when seniors were held in high regard, seen as storehouses of wisdom to be transmitted to the next generation.

I also sense a strong prejudice against older people in social circles and in the workplace.

Young people who show compassion and affection for the elderly are a rarity these days.

It is worthwhile noting these words by then Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong in 2009 on honouring seniors ("SM: Find ways to honour seniors"; March 1, 2009):

"How we treat the old today will set the tone for how we ourselves will be treated when we grow old.

"More importantly, it will tell the world the kind of society that we are."

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng


This article was first published on October 13, 2015.
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