The Art of Becoming Old: Empowering Women in Paraguay for a Better Future

Wairimu Mwangi
June 18, 2024
Flyer for a webinar titled

Webinar by Area Mujer Paraguay to empower women in peacebuilding.

The journey of aging, for both men and women, often comes with societal challenges and personal adjustments. Since 2009, the Global Peace Foundation (GPF) has been addressing these challenges through various initiatives aimed at improving the lives of women in Paraguay, particularly focusing on their role in social, political, and economic development. GPF Paraguay and Global Peace Women is working collaboratively through Área Mujer, a program dedicated to enhancing living conditions and opportunities for development and welfare for women in Paraguay. Through networking, community services, and education, Área Mujer promotes the empowerment of women as leaders and key contributors to family formation and national development. Their programs focus on peacebuilding through the strengthening of family values, community service, and the promotion of human fraternity.

During a meeting held on April 29, 2024, Dr. Gladis Fischer Martinez, a lawyer specializing in gerontology, discussed aging and how society can better support its elderly population. She highlighted the demographic shift in Paraguay, where the percentage of elderly citizens is rising. Despite improvements such as the elderly pension, which provides financial support to those in need, there are still significant gaps in public policies related to health care, transportation, and infrastructure for the elderly.

Dr. Fischer emphasized that as life expectancy increases, it is crucial to focus on the quality of life for the elderly. She pointed out that aging should not be viewed negatively but as a stage of life that can be lived with dignity and joy. She encouraged society to view old age as a time of continued growth and contribution, rather than decline.

Respect for the elderly is a cornerstone of Dr. Fischer’s message. She noted that in the past, older adults were more respected and played crucial roles in decision-making within communities. Today, however, the capitalist emphasis on productivity has led to a devaluation of the elderly, who are often seen as less useful once their economic output declines. She called for a shift in perspective, advocating for the elderly to be recognized for their wisdom and experience.

For women, the challenges of aging are often compounded by societal expectations of perpetual youth and beauty. Dr. Fischer stressed that it is essential for women to embrace their aging process, acknowledging the significance of their experiences and contributions. She also highlighted the need for policies that specifically address the unique challenges faced by elderly women with an aim to protect their rights and ensure their dignity.

To live a fulfilling old age, Dr. Fischer outlined three key areas of focus:

1. Taking Care of the Body: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and medical check-ups are crucial for maintaining physical health and independence.

2. Intellectual Exercise: Engaging in activities that stimulate the mind, such as reading and writing, can help keep the brain active and sharp.

3. Positive Attitude: Embracing aging with a positive outlook and enthusiasm can significantly improve the quality of life.

Dr. Fischer’s insights provided a comprehensive approach to addressing the challenges of aging. By promoting empowerment, respect, and practical steps for maintaining health and well-being, they offered a pathway for women and society as a whole to navigate the journey of aging with dignity and purpose. The Global Peace Foundation continues to work towards these goals, promoting the art of becoming old as a valuable and enriching phase of life.

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