International Day of Older Persons is a United Nations initiative celebrated around the world on October 1st. This is a time to acknowledge and to say thank you for the huge contribution older people make to our society Often older people can be thought of by society as, sick, fragile, powerless, ‘passed it’, are behind the times and have no clue! However, those assumptions are far from the truth!

According to Super Seniors NZ “older people are key contributors to our economy and our communities. They are skilled workers, volunteers, caregivers, mentors and leaders. They continue to make a large economic contribution as business leaders, taxpayers and consumers.”

The number of seniors is expected to more than double to over 2 billion in 2050 and in around 30 years it is expected that there will be more older people than children for the first time in history. Here in New Zealand, we will have 1.2 million New Zealanders aged over 65 years in just twenty years.

According to NZ Statistics “in the June 2020 quarter, New Zealanders rated how worthwhile their lives are highly, at an average rating of 8.2 out of 10. Older people (aged 65 years and older) were almost twice as likely to say that the things they do in their lives were completely worthwhile when compared with people aged 18–24.

This suggests that the majority of older people are enjoying the later years. So, what do some of our St Barnabas people think about getting older?

Noeline Boag from Holly Lea says, “It is a time of reflection and continuous learning, and you have a better understanding of the past.”

Marie MacFarlane believes “the key is good health and good cognitive ability and maintaining an interest in people.” She also said how blessed she feels to have such a wonderful and caring family.

We are blessed to be surrounded by many talented and gifted seniors, and we acknowledge their service, knowledge, and wisdom, from volunteering, being on vestry, the wafer room, and hospitably etc.

Once a year we honour those 90 years and over with a special afternoon tea and sing-along for all their service and commitment to the church their families and our society.

Jo Cotton | Pastoral Care Coordinator and Young Adults