“Older people are helpless.” “Older people are past their sell-by date.” “Older people will eventually become senile.” According to the World Health Organization, these are just a few of the damaging and demoralizing stereotypes faced by older people in North America.
While most of us respect and value the seniors that we know and love in our inner circles, many people’s attitudes towards older people within “the broader community” tend to be ageist and discriminatory, even if unintentionally so.
Seniors in North America face injustices every single day and the reality is that these damaging stereotypes could not be further from the truth. Organizations such as WHO have made it their mission to combat ageism by providing accurate information and statistics about seniors, as well as develop toolkits to support “active and dignified ageing.” WHO is not alone in their mission.
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The Windsor Star recently reported on a revolutionary event that took place in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on October 2, 2017. The inaugural “Top 7 Over 70″ awards took place at the Hyatt Regency in the beautiful city of Calgary and was attended by over 800 people.
The purpose of this event was two-fold:
With honorees ranging from authors to philanthropists, entrepreneurs to physicists, and educators to marathoner runners, the awards gala was an inspirational evening. One highlight was particularly rousing: 101-year-old Dr. Richard Guy, a University of Calgary mathematician who “still lectures, mentors and fundraises” received the Citation of Unique Merit award.
WISE is another organization that celebrates and supports Canadian seniors and entrepreneurs, helping them achieve their “business start-up goals by equipping them with the requisite skills, knowledge, resources and confidence.” WISE (which stands for Wisdom, Initiative, Skills and Experience) held its inaugural “50 over 50″ awards ceremony in 2017, celebrating “encore careerists” who have taken a risk and started successful businesses later in life.
Noteworthy recipients who were selected to receive the 50 over 50 award include:
Adults over the age of 50 make up the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the world at this time; however, they are also the most under-served and under-supported group of new entrepreneurs.
Awards ceremonies such as Top 7 Over 70 and 50 over 50 prove that age is just a number, and showcase the ambition and motivation senior entrepreneurs have to achieve their dreams while making positive contributions to our communities.
Do you know any Canadian seniors in your community who should be recognized for their impact? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.