“The work you do in the field of Gerontology will help older adults of today who might be your grandparents, older adults of tomorrow who will be your parents, and older adults of decades to come who will be you.” – Keshini Madara Marasinghe
Making a community/country age-friendly means having the physical and social environment designed in a way that getting by in that environment is not a challenge for older adults. For example, this means having public spaces and buildings such as grocery stores, markets, hospitals, stores, movie theatres, or airports designed to accommodate older adults with or without a disability. The same ideology applies to when thinking about transportation. Is Sri Lanka’s public transportation age-friendly? Can an older person with or without a disability get on a bus or train safely and independently? What about bus stands for them to sit while waiting for the buses? Are we developing and using assistive technologies and devices effectively to help those in need? It is important that as a country, Sri Lanka takes all of these questions into consideration when development decisions are being made. Sri Lanka is at a developing stage and there are many opportunities for us to integrate these concepts into development to make it a successful development.
Achieving an age-friendly country to improve the quality of older adults is simple. In the stage of planning anything age-friendly, prior to development always ask the question, is what I am creating right now going to support me and those around me the same way in another few decades when we are old? Or imagine your grandparents or parents in your plan. The answers to how to improve the quality of life of older adults in Sri Lanka are out there. People who are willing to work for Sri Lanka, who have the knowledge to do so, also exist in the world. A larger scale of collaboration between Gerontology and Healthcare experts in Sri Lanka and experts from around the world who are willing to work to develop Sri Lanka is essential. Considering where we are at as a country, it is crucial that Sri Lanka makes use of those knowledgeable individuals who want to make a change in the country. Not just in healthcare, but all other areas as well. I truly feel that the time for that change in Sri Lanka is now and if we do not change now, it will be a cycle of struggle for development.
“The work done in the field of Gerontology will help every single person who lives to age and will have an impact on generations to come.”
~ Keshini Madara Marasinghe