Elderly, Holy

La Voz de Galicia – October 1, 2021 →

Cristina PatoSince 1990 the United Nations celebrates the International Day of Older Persons on October 1st. And in 2021, the slogan it chose to remind us of their objectives regarding this great majority is «Digital equity for all ages.» And even though I agree with the notion that «older people (…) do not fully benefit from the opportunities that technological progress offers,» and that in addition there is a «need for them to have access and a significant participation in the digital world,» the truth is that the selection of that slogan made me think about not only how complex it is to think about the elderly as a collective but also about what it means to superimpose technological progress to other priorities.

It suddenly came to my mind the number of times I felt frustrated with the bank’s automatic teller because I was unable to understand it. And those wasted hours waiting for a human voice to come to the phone to solve the problem of that bill I paid online. And even though I am not part of that group of «older people,» the truth is that I don’t always understand this so-called technological progress.

At the root of this international day is «encouraging governments to introduce principles in favor of the elderly.» And I ask myself: when did those governments forget those principles? Reaching digital equity is a long way away, but it is even farther away, and it should be imperative, to reach social equity: reaching old age with dignity.

Yes, «older,» that’s how institutions speak, and they also use the term «the elderly.» But for me, the old women in my family are not «the elderly» they are holy. And If I manage to reach my seventies, I will gladly be called old…

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