- As we know, older people are becoming a larger and larger fraction of the population. It is important that IHEU develop a position on the implications of aging for social policy and for personal life. As a preliminary guide, perhaps the following brief statements might be useful. In addition, we are represented at an NGO – UN task force on aging in New York City and we can expect materials to originate there.
- Every human being ought to be free. It follows that democratic policies for older people must be developed and in particular their participation in social life sustained. Programs and policies particularly relevant to the needs of older people should be developed with older people and not for them. Special provisions may be necessary in order to facilitate participation, e.g. transportation to and from places of meeting, documents printed in the larger type, provisions for the hard of hearing, flexible meeting schedules, etc.
- Every human being has a right to the necessary material conditions of life. It follows that food, shelter, clothing and medical care ought to be available to all people. For older people, special requirements may be necessary, e.g. provision for special diets and cooking facilities, etc. Not to be ignored, particularly for those who are “retired” from jobs, is the need for some “spending money” so that freedom of choice may be preserved.
- Every human being has a right to the opportunity for productivity, for leisure time activities, for continuing education. For older people this entails providing both volunteer and salaried work opportunities; special opportunities for travel and recreation; continuing education possibilities. Important in this regard is provision for part-time employment, for “please” retirement, suitable counselling for retirement, etc.
- very human being has a right to decide his/ her personal destiny. For older people this entails the right to live and die with dignity and the right of choice. In particular, with respect to various possible therapies, informed consent is most important.
- The IHEU should encourage its member organisations to develop programs for aging and to report their activities as widely as possible. IHEU activities at UN in this area should be supported and, where suitable, international programs of public information undertaken. It may also be desirable to explore inclusion of this seem in the next IHEU Congress.
Policy guiding statement – Board of directors 1980
Suggested academic reference
'IHEU Position Statement re: Ageing', Humanists International, Board of Directors, 1980