LAHORE: Ageism, i.e. discrimination on the basis of age, is as bad as racism and sexism are, so we must educate our youth to understand the sensitivities of interacting with older persons and change how older people are represented in the media to have a wider impact on the public’s attitudes.

This was stated by GCU Lahore Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Asghar Zaidi, who is also a senior research fellow at the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, while addressing a seminar on “Perceptions about Aging and Ageism”. Prof. Zaidi has recently been selected as the Senior Advisor to WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on measurement, monitoring and evaluation of UN Decade of Healthy Ageing.

The seminar was organized by the Ravian Forensic Society at the Government College University Lahore.

Dr Amna Buttar, a renowned geriatric doctor from the USA, also delivered an insightful talk at the seminar on various forms of Ageing and different stereotypes of Ageism existing in society.

Dr Buttar said that ageism is a perception that changes views of one’s to see their reflections, erodes solidarity between generations, limits the benefits of a well-knitted older and younger population’s contribution and impacts health, longevity and far-reaching economic consequences.

She believed that despite the fact that there is a tsunami of older persons coming, we’re just keeping standing there with our eyes closed.

Dr Amna Buttar called upon the Vice-Chancellor of GCU to start an advocacy campaign in Pakistan as the lack of attention to older people’s issues, and more explicitly their rights make it more to raise awareness about the severity of the situation.

Vice-Chancellor Prof. Asghar Zaidi said that there exist more than 12 million older persons in Pakistan, and their population would increase to about 44 million by 2050, but the majority of us don’t have knowledge and understanding about the issue. Moreover, he said, there exists a prejudice that older persons are not productive at all, and they are just dependent on the younger generation.

Prof. Zaidi laid stress on the social inclusion of older people so that they continue to contribute to the development of society based on their needs, preferences and abilities.

The Vice-Chancellor expressed gratitude to Dr Amna Buttar for her very insightful talk on the topic.

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