Many are saying: “Global aging is a defining phenomenon of the 21st century”. It certainly is a major global trend. The GTA is a microcosm of the world. We live in a multicultural and multi-religious region. The challenge for us, therefore, is both local and global, and it will only increase. The World Health Organization forecasts the elderly population (over 60 years of age) to grow from an estimated 680 million people in 2011 to 2 billion by 2050 with those over 60 outnumbering those under 15. This historically unprecedented situation is already impacting all dimensions of life, including the economic, social, and political spheres. This course aims to help prepare us to exercise what the Bible calls “true religion” (Ja 1:27), honouring the aged amongst us as we honour our parents (Ex 20; Lev 19:32; Mat 15; Eph 6; 1 Tim 5). Honour, understood biblically, is holistic and integrated, just as human beings are holistically integrated with their histories, cultures, languages, families, religions, and personal life stages. To engage positively and wisely we must acknowledge these real differences in our neighbourhoods and institutions of care and learn to express our care with understanding and respect. We will look together at some of the barriers and opportunities for more sensitive, compassionate, and fruitful ministries of care.
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