BIC Brussels: Reimagining the elderly’s role in society
BIC BRUSSELS — At a time when societal conversations often focus on the complexities of supporting the elderly within healthcare and pension systems, the Brussels Office of the Bahá’í International Community (BIC) offers a refreshing perspective: envisioning the elderly as invaluable contributors to the fabric of community life, emphasizing their role as active participants in shaping a cohesive and vibrant society.
This perspective, explored in the statement titled A European strategy for the elderly: The irreplaceable role of community life, is particularly relevant in light of increasing concerns over loneliness and social isolation among the elderly in Europe and globally.
The statement was distributed to European Union (EU) officials, as well as to speakers and organizers of last week’s conference titled “Present and future of EU policy for older persons,” jointly hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee and the Spanish Presidency of the EU to explore strategies in Europe for addressing the issue.
In its effort to emphasize the centrality of a vibrant community life to a range of social issues, the statement has also been shared with many civil society groups involved in elderly care as well as those concerned with social cohesion.
Rachel Bayani, a representative of the Brussels Office, spoke with the News Service, stating: “The BIC’s vision reconceptualizes the elderly not just as members of society to be cared for, but as vital contributors to community life.
“The desire to serve and contribute meaningfully to society does not fade with age,” she said.
Mrs. Bayani added: “By recognizing the diverse capacities of the elderly, communities can foster a culture in which every age group enriches the other, creating a harmonious pattern of shared experiences and mutual support.”
The statement of the Brussels Office emphasizes a shared responsibility—encompassing individuals, communities, and institutions in Europe—to create environments where every person’s contribution is valued and fostered.
It also highlights the need “to address the root causes that lead to isolation and loneliness as they are manifested across all segments of society and to offer channels through which the innate desire within people of all ages to contribute meaningfully to their society can find practical expression.”
The statement, which can be viewed here, builds on the ongoing efforts of the BIC to contribute to the discourse on social betterment.