FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Child, Youth and Seniors’ Advocate is marking the 30th anniversary of the United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons on Oct. 1 by striving to create greater awareness and appreciation for the rights and well-being of New Brunswick’s aging population.

“This is an occasion to celebrate and show your respect and gratitude for older adults in your life,” said Child, Youth and Seniors’ Advocate Norman Bossé. “The aging population continues to make major contributions to society through volunteer work, transmitting their experience and knowledge, helping their families and participating in the workforce. We must ensure that everyone can grow old with dignity and continue to participate as citizens with full rights.”

According to the province’s latest numbers, New Brunswick’s senior population will almost double within 20 years, which will put increased pressure on the province’s long-term care system.

“This year, particularly with the outbreak of COVID-19, the necessary public health measures also exacerbate challenges with isolation, leaving seniors and vulnerable adults isolated and at a greater risk of abuse or neglect,” said Bossé. “Improvements to the long-term care system must be considered to meet the needs of our aging population.”

The seniors’ advocate continues to open doors for seniors through efforts based on the United Nations’ Principles for Older Persons, which address independence, participation, care, self-fulfillment and dignity, while ensuring seniors’ voices are heard and their rights are respected.