News

Age is nothing but a number: Bridging the gap between the young and the old

26 April 2016

Ha Noi, 29 September 2015 - An opening reception of the photo voice exhibition "Timeless" was held this morning in Ha Noi by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the General Office for Population and Family Planning (GOPFP). The exhibition was organized on the occasion of International Day of Older Persons and the Month of Action for Older People 2015 to show a positive view of ageing population in turning challenges into opportunities and to strengthen the understanding of the dynamics of an ageing society.

Viet Nam has officially entered the "ageing phase" since 2011, and is among the most rapidly ageing countries in the world. The proportion of older persons in the total population has increased to 10.5 per cent in 2014, and will be doubled to 23 per cent in 2040.  As the world sets out an inspirational new development agenda, and commits to reaching the new Sustainable Development Goals, Viet Nam must envision a new paradigm that aligns demographic ageing with economic and social growth and protects the human rights of older persons.

Addressing at the event, Mr. Le Canh Nhac, Deputy Director of the GOPFP stressed that: “Longevity is a public health achievement, not a social or economic liability. On this International Day of Older Persons, let us pledge to ensure the well-being of older persons and to enlist their meaningful participation in society so we can all benefit from their knowledge and ability”.

The exhibition showcases 15 sets of photos taken by photographer Na Son, telling inspiring stories about the lives of older persons and their grandchildren in different parts of Viet Nam. The older persons shared their experiences and described how their lives have changed and what they expect from their family, community and the whole society.  The grandchildren expressed their wishes when they get older in the future. Bringing different generations together helps dispel age-related myths and stereotypes around the issue of ageing, preventing individuals from becoming full participants in society.

The saxophonist Quyen Van Minh and Viet Nam Idol singer Trong Hieu took part in the photo voice exhibition as Ambassadors for senior and young generations of Viet Nam. The two Ambassadors, an older persons and a youngster, together made a great performance of music and confirmed that age is nothing but a number and both senior and young generations are valuable in their own right, and older persons are active and forward-looking participants in society.

"Older persons should be considered as an important economic resource for development. Viet Nam should facilitate employment opportunities, flexible retirement age, and skills development for older persons as a mean to ensure income and benefits for old age", said Ms. Ritsu Nacken, Acting UNFPA Representative in Viet Nam, at the event. She also emphasized that in order to prepare for the massive demographic change, we will need to challenge our assumptions and adopt new mindsets towards older persons across all segments of the society.

A writing competition “My Grandparents and I”, jointly supported by UNFPA and HelpAge International, was launched at the event. The competition targets Vietnamese students in selected middle and high schools in Ha Noi, and invites submissions from 1 to 20 October. The competition aims not only to change the social norm and stereotype on older persons, but also to educate young generation of Viet Nam to be more aware of the reality of ageing people and to express their love and respect to their grandparents and older persons. The award ceremony will be held on 5 November 2015 at the Green One UN House.

Together, we need to reinvent our assumptions of age to break stereotypes and develop new models of ageing for the 21st century.

- See more at: https://vietnam.unfpa.org/public/pid/19072#sthash.ScAyfTnx.dpufHa Noi, 29 September 2015 - An opening reception of the photo voice exhibition "Timeless" was held this morning in Ha Noi by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the General Office for Population and Family Planning (GOPFP). The exhibition was organized on the occasion of International Day of Older Persons and the Month of Action for Older People 2015 to show a positive view of ageing population in turning challenges into opportunities and to strengthen the understanding of the dynamics of an ageing society.

Viet Nam has officially entered the "ageing phase" since 2011, and is among the most rapidly ageing countries in the world. The proportion of older persons in the total population has increased to 10.5 per cent in 2014, and will be doubled to 23 per cent in 2040.  As the world sets out an inspirational new development agenda, and commits to reaching the new Sustainable Development Goals, Viet Nam must envision a new paradigm that aligns demographic ageing with economic and social growth and protects the human rights of older persons.

Addressing at the event, Mr. Le Canh Nhac, Deputy Director of the GOPFP stressed that: “Longevity is a public health achievement, not a social or economic liability. On this International Day of Older Persons, let us pledge to ensure the well-being of older persons and to enlist their meaningful participation in society so we can all benefit from their knowledge and ability”.

The exhibition showcases 15 sets of photos taken by photographer Na Son, telling inspiring stories about the lives of older persons and their grandchildren in different parts of Viet Nam. The older persons shared their experiences and described how their lives have changed and what they expect from their family, community and the whole society.  The grandchildren expressed their wishes when they get older in the future. Bringing different generations together helps dispel age-related myths and stereotypes around the issue of ageing, preventing individuals from becoming full participants in society.

The saxophonist Quyen Van Minh and Viet Nam Idol singer Trong Hieu took part in the photo voice exhibition as Ambassadors for senior and young generations of Viet Nam. The two Ambassadors, an older persons and a youngster, together made a great performance of music and confirmed that age is nothing but a number and both senior and young generations are valuable in their own right, and older persons are active and forward-looking participants in society.

"Older persons should be considered as an important economic resource for development. Viet Nam should facilitate employment opportunities, flexible retirement age, and skills development for older persons as a mean to ensure income and benefits for old age", said Ms. Ritsu Nacken, Acting UNFPA Representative in Viet Nam, at the event. She also emphasized that in order to prepare for the massive demographic change, we will need to challenge our assumptions and adopt new mindsets towards older persons across all segments of the society.

A writing competition “My Grandparents and I”, jointly supported by UNFPA and HelpAge International, was launched at the event. The competition targets Vietnamese students in selected middle and high schools in Ha Noi, and invites submissions from 1 to 20 October. The competition aims not only to change the social norm and stereotype on older persons, but also to educate young generation of Viet Nam to be more aware of the reality of ageing people and to express their love and respect to their grandparents and older persons. The award ceremony will be held on 5 November 2015 at the Green One UN House.

Together, we need to reinvent our assumptions of age to break stereotypes and develop new models of ageing for the 21st century.