Embracing the International Day of Care and Support

As we stand at the crossroads of a changing world, there are certain undeniable realities that we must confront. People are living longer, and the global population of older individuals is on the rise.

This longevity is a cause for celebration, but it also demands our attention regarding the quality of life these individuals experience. In this blog, we explore the significance of caregiving in this context and its intersection with human rights, gender, disability, and age sensitivity.

The Essence of Caregiving

Our humanity is intrinsically linked to the wellness of individuals and communities. To uphold this wellness, we must prioritise the caregiving relationship. It is heartening to note that the United Nations has proclaimed an International Day of Care and Support, to be observed on 29 October. This day serves as a platform to delve deeper into caregiving systems, focusing on the rights of caregivers, be they formal or informal. The balancing act of caregiving rights is at the heart of the care economy.

Human Rights-Based Care

The International Day of Care and Support calls for us to consider the human rights of both caregivers and care recipients. How can we prioritize these rights while ensuring they don’t infringe upon one another?

Gender Responsiveness

Caregiving is a gendered issue, with women traditionally shouldering the bulk of the caregiving responsibilities. This often leads to women delaying or abandoning their own aspirations.

Disability Inclusivity

The United Nations urges member states to incorporate disability inclusivity into their care policies and programmes. This extends to a range of opportunities from the initial stages of sensitisation and understanding the unique needs of individuals with disabilities, to the complex processes of implementation – for example implementing universal design in facilities for older individuals.

Age Sensitivity

Care and support are required at all stages of life. However, the intensity of these needs varies. We must consciously acknowledge and address the unique challenges that different life stages bring.

The Global Perspective

In South Africa, the aging population has increased from 6.2% to 9.2% in just two decades, totalling 5.4 million individuals in 2023.

The caregiving dynamic is part of the broader care economy, encompassing paid and unpaid caregiving in all its forms. It’s essential for all of us to consider our roles as both caregivers and care recipients. Are we adequately prepared for these roles, and what support might we need?

The Way Forward

Tafta, as an organization, remains committed to its mission of bringing dignity, growth, and meaning to the lives of older individuals. This commitment extends to contributing to the overall well-being of communities.

However, the well-being of communities cannot be fully realized without considering the welfare of caregivers. A holistic approach to well-being is the cornerstone of sustainable development.zAs we approach the International Day of Care and Support, let us reflect on the importance of caregiving in our lives. It’s an opportunity to create a more inclusive, rights-based, gender-responsive, and age-sensitive caregiving system, ensuring that everyone can age with dignity and purpose. Let us strive to make the world a place where we all can proudly grow old.