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Golden oldies have a special day to celebrate

A morning tea celebration at the Masterton District Library today marks International Day of Older Persons, and Mayor Gary Caffell isn’t afraid to admit that he fits the bill.

“I’m one of them,” he laughed when chatting with Times-Age.

Although it wasn’t his idea to give a speech at the event, he said he’s happy to do it.

His speech will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

Mark Pacey, Wairarapa’s local archivist, will then take the floor to discuss Masterton’s ambitious 1960s sporting event, The Golden Games.

Caffell sees the day as an opportunity to talk to local older people about the council’s ambitions for the upcoming years.

Older people still play “a huge part in developing our town”, he said.

It’s “hugely important” to speak with people from all demographics because they all offer their own unique perspectives, Caffell said.

His own age provides a certain level of camaraderie with older persons.

“I have a lot of empathy for them. We have a big ageing population in our district.”

In the 2018 census, Masterton’s median age was 43.2 years old, with 25.5 per cent of males and 29 per cent of females in Masterton aged over 65.

Stats NZ anticipates the number of people in New Zealand aged 65 and over will exceed one million by 2028.

The International Day of Older Persons was made an official day of recognition in December 1990 by the United Nations General Assembly.

It was created as a day to both recognise the generations before us but also highlight the importance of promoting health, and providing supportive environments to give everyone independence.

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