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2012 VOF Modulo 4 - Feminization of old age.

Presentation of theater.

We get a little bit older everyday. The aging process begins at birth.

We all have inherited a genetic code. It is this code that will tell your body: You have inherited these diseases ... Our genetic code yells at us: “Prepare your old age!”

And we go through life as if we would live forever and be immune to all the health problems we inherited from our ancestors.

Our future body is built throughout our existence. During the stages of life, there are several external interferences in the physical body that influence our older age.

Gender issues cause major or minor concerns. There are physical changes in hormone levels, falling hair, weight gain, emotional issues beyond the commitment to the inter-relationships.

But we are not only a physical device with physical and chemical reactions. We are a holistic being, endowed with intelligence, speech and memory. We walk along the path of life carrying our baggage of primary needs. That makes us question the whole time:

What were the social conditions in which this old person was born? What is the cultural history of his or her family? What were his or her choices? How did he or she develop his or her potential? What did this person eat? Did he or she have vices? Is this elder person taking care of his or her health? How healthy were his or her hobbies? What was your choice to build the continuity of your family?

We could list several issues and we could not fully address the issue of aging. The aging process is complex, in reality, it is the process of living.

Working with the elderly for 21 years, I have learned more than I have taught. Let's enter the world of these experiences to multiply them? During this time we had to get diversified knowledge to transform it into pedagogical action.

Brazil is changing its face: it is no longer a new young country and it is becoming a country of old men.

The census carried out by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), from 1991 to 2010 reflects a decrease in birth rate and fertility. It Indicates a significant increase of added years of life in the adult population. It must be noted that there is also an increase in young adult mortality due to violence and traffic accidents.

It also features a (?) an analysis by genre: for every 205 births, 105 are men. Another important fact is that there are 96 men for every 100 women. Therefore, the mortality rate among men is higher.

According to the 2010 Census, there are 45.932,295 people between 0 and 14 years; 34.236,060, between 15 and 24 years; 46.737,506, between 25 and 39,
34.983,120, between 40 and 54, 14.785,338, 55 to 64 years, and 14.081,480 with over 65 years.

The Southeast and South are the regions with the oldest population in the country. The two regions had, in 2010, a number of elderly people aged 65 of over 8.1%. That same year, the population of children under 5 years was 6.5% in the Southeast and 6.4% in the South.

The current reality is very different from 10 years ago. The statistical data according to the IBGE show this change in the age profile of the population.

Data from 1991 show that the group of male children who were 0-4 years old was 5.5% and 5.7% for female children. There was a drop in these percentages in 2000, which came to 4.9% and 4.7% culminating in 3.7% and 3.6% in 2010. In the contrary, The elderly population aged 65 or more grows. In 1991 was 4.8%; to 5.9%, in 2000, reaching 7.4%, by the year 2010.

In 1991, the group of 0-15 year olds represented 34.7% of the population. In 2010 that number dropped to 24.1%. The population over 65 years, that amounted in 1991 to 4.8%, rose to 7.4% in 2010.

"That means there are fewer children and adolescents in the country than 10 years ago and that the elderly population has increased," says Fernando Albuquerque, manager of the Department of Population and Social Indicators of IBGE.

With the advancement of public policies in diverse areas, the adult population becomes stronger and are achieving an older age (a longer life expectancy).

Vaccines have an important role in this process, as well as pensions, the shift in cultural power, social behavior, in health prevention. All of this could enable older people a better quality of life to this new phase.

The population profile is modified and is influenced by all the index presented. Until the year 2050, Brazil will be a country with predominantly elderly.

We need to be aware of the scope of this phenomenon of development that occurs throughout the life-span.
What should we do to an old age with more health and safety?

The study of gerontology is primarily responsible for the perception of a new look in the elderly. Nobody is born old. Happy are those who become old in a healthy way, especially those who can have a quality of life in old age.

Educators are concerned with developmental psychology aiming to discover the stages of education to work in classrooms with children and young people. Our mission as pedagogues is greater. We need to look at that child and two years designing his 65 years. How to do this?

Not discarding the adult stages of human development, giving the same value of research to the older age groups, and realizing that the current education project is necessary to develop a look at the very long term life expectancy.

The profession of pedagogue gave me the chance to work with the age extremes of life, in daily practice and learning how to deal with the similarities and differences between children and the elderly. This Made me realize, for example, how much we can use creative resources to work the difficulties that the elderly go through due to the sequelae of stroke, which sometimes reduces their mobility, using resources that we use to develop the motor skills of children.

Professionals in several areas as well as the elderly’s families must prepare to cope with the demands that arise from aging.

The Starting point might be the domestic architecture, with safety structure, where the floors and decoration take into account the perspective of the young couple becoming a happy elderly couple.

Domestic accidents can bring serious problems to the elderly. Serious consequences may arise, such as the lack of mobility, respiratory diseases due to the period of rest, and sadness because of loneliness.

Why do women live longer? The woman has always been a great caregiver - for children, family… Now, the women are rediscovering and beginning to really look after themselves.

I went to four institutions dedicated to the elderly men and women, I noticed that 90% of seniors who attended those establishments were women.

In these social projects, women do handicraft work, return to school, sing, dance, and take part in various activities offered to them. The 10% of men who frequent the same places select what they want to do.

Women take part in activities that they enjoy, not what they are told to do (not due to obedience), and feel this occupation is improving their lives. They Often give their opinion about what they would do and make it clear that when they finish their day at the NGO, they will return to their homes to take care of the household. Life goes on.

What about men? they had their wives at home or in the project, who would give continuity to the basic care with their lives – for example, to make food, housekeeping and laundry, or to manage their medicines.

In poor communities, it is evident that women are in control. The woman It is the head of the couple. When she becomes old it is sometimes her pension that supports the whole family, besides taking care of grandchildren so that parents can work.

We need to develop a look that goes beyond the obvious, noting the human being. We must look beyond the statistics and learn to deal with people, realizing that they are also more than a genetic code. It is social and cultural, and that is the main point.

For example, A rebellious child, created with no rules, as how will he or she become as an adult? And when older? Will she become a helpful and polite grandmother?

Throughout our development in life, we acquire habits, weaknesses imposed by the lack of teaching and this leads to serious consequences after 60 years of behavior. The time does not erase what it does not register.

The child who is not educated to be sympathetic to life in all its forms, will become a neglecting adult and an elderly abandoned by their families.

We live in a web to weave a future which has in each of its points arguments in psychological, genetic, biological and socio-cultural events. Each event unfolds in life experiences, that are unique each person. This way we build and put together the fragments that form our life.

The Genetic and biological processes has improved over the years through scientific discoveries, the drugs are discovered and geriatrics becomes more and more developed, being divided into areas such as heart problems, gynecological, ophthalmic, among many others and the elderly need to have memory for manage their pill box.

The Gerontology associated with geriatric care ensures that the elderly should not be seen as isolated parts but as a whole and realize that by administering various drugs at the same time it will be necessary that the doctor is aware of all drugs already being taken by this person.

The public policies on health also develop prevention methods and encourage the elderly to use their wisdom to seek relationships and physical activities, making them aware that it is necessary that the physical body is constantly motivated to sustain its weight.

But what distinguishes one person from another is one’s culture, is one’s ability to control their vices, and will to change one’s way of living.

I visited two nursing homes, and there I found a committed team, every basic need met. And yet the smile, the twinkle in his eyes was hard for me to find. They Felt abandoned by their family, they received visits at least monthly, and still complained.

The feeling of isolation, of being out of one’s its cultural context leaves the elderly very fragile and lead them to question: what went wrong so that my family does not want me in my house?

The question would be, what did I offer for my son for him to treat me this way today?

I would not answer to this question. As an educator I have to work as a form of reconnection between the generations.
I worked for 16 years at a nursery in City of God, with 150 children and 70 elderly.

In the early years I was only charmed by the children and vivacity, and for the elderly I just offered the basics.

But What is the basics? day I decided to see, feel, understand, learn, I joined the two extremes of life – childhood and old age. I did not have this idea, I only heard the elderly, I observed the children's reaction to what they heard and saw in the spaces of mutual coexistence.

It was there the answer to develop an action that takes into account the specificities of each age group, but giving priority to inter generation relations. The elderly and the children lived in the same communities, some were even relatives.

With the practical experiences, some concepts emerged. One example is to adapt the space not to brings risks to the children or the elderly. It also brought some questions, such as: why not use the creative activities from kindergarten, to treat elderly people with motor difficulties? The technique would be to hug him or her from behind to give security to the stand, offering paints, brushes, put a sheet so that he or she could create, as we do with children and have the patience to see it gradually stray far from the our embrace and become independent.

We discovered the wisdom of the elderly and the need to preserve the cultural memory that it represents for the community. Context had its most precious resource in a relationship, that space every day, We use art strategies with both children and elderly people – but always making sure not treat the elderly in a childish manner nor to treat the children as if they were adults.

This way, the intergenerational singing choir Emilien Lacay House was created: during the plays, the elderly would represent Grandma's lap for that child who was crying the mother's absence. And with whom should we share this discovery? With the families of children and the elderly.

We noticed that at parties and presentations, there was lack of public when seniors presented, and this began to bother us. We reverse the order of programming and make joint efforts, so that currently the biggest fans of the elderly are the children's families.

We think it was created a special action for these seniors to be recognized by the children’s families of the project, strengthening the bond with their own relational families, and we could go further by giving them visibility in the community. We decided to take them to presentations seeking more protection, recovery and compromise between the parties.

It is clear feminization of old age, just look towards sociodemographic, with the greater presence of women in the elderly population, increased longevity of women compared with men; relative growth in the number of women who are part of the economically active population, relative growth the number of women who are heads of households.

The question is, what are we doing today for the elderly that we will be in the future?

This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices or Our Future a program of Word Pulse that provides rigorous new media and citizen journalism training for grassroots women leaders. Word Pulse lifts and unites the voices of women from some of the most unheard regions of the word.

In the arms of wisdom
cultural activities



Lilith784's picture

Valeria, thank you! I feel

thank you! I feel like I just attended an inspiring lecture. So many layers to this topic.

katea's picture

Thank you for sharing!

It is really sad that the current society neglects and marginalizes the elderly. Like you said, they have so much wisdom that we can learn from. I always wonder how it would feel like if my grandparents were still around; they died when I was young.

The photos you attached show us happy faces which make my heart smile, too.


Poverty is man-made that we can undo.

Valéria Barbosa da Silva's picture

Dear friend.

We see this discrimização towards the elderly person. What can we help to bring change to paradgma? Educating children. And giving visibility to this elderly with a special participation in his community.

Duda's picture

Dear Sister,

this peace is full of information about elderly person. I have to notice that the situation connected to elder people is the same in Serbia.
Many of us will become old and I am shore that know one would not like to be treated as this elder people are right now.
Have a nice day,

Dear sister Duda, people of the land, has only one destination: well cared for and protected can grow old. The important thing is getting old and still have respect and love of family, and have quality of life. When an elderly person feels part of its context it conveys his wisdom seized throughout his life.


Grateful for the kindness.


WILDKat's picture

Most moving moment


In all those years of dedicating your moments to the aging, which is your most moving?

You've given a better understanding of the demographic pressures to women in Brazil.
What affect will, if any, this have on designers for the Olympic spaces?

Naturally grateful,
Kat Haber

"Know thyself." ~ Plato

Valéria Barbosa da Silva's picture

Most moving moment

Dear friend, thank you for caring. It was easy to serve the elderly during this time and also the children, I'm getting old with them.

We need to be concerned primarily within households. The diseases resulting from falls are very common.



Stella Paul's picture

Well written

My dear Valeria

I read this article now. I want to give you a big hug and a kiss for raising the issue of caring for elders. My mother is 67 ad she is the center of my life. Everyday I learn something form her and I think I have learned only 10% of her knowledge and her wisdom. I learn everything good and right from her. Now, if we look at the society and think of every senior citizen like my mother, what we will find? An ocean of knowledge, experience, wisdom! If we use these qualities to solve the problems of the world, the elders will never ever have to be isolated... We only need to change our perception of the elderly people. They are priceless!

Thank you again for writing this here Valeria. God bless you!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

Undoubtedly dear Stelas . The transfer of cultural elder for the younger is priceless.

When read with a child I deal with the old man of the future, then having to worry about, what he eats, whether of organic matter or intellectual.

Brotherly hugs.

Thank you so much for this beautifully written article. I find it profoundly important and very moving. The subject of the care, treatment and quality of life for our elderly is not a subject which is discussed frequently here in the U.S.
I think that most of the population prefers to forget that they may indeed find themselves as older folks who are not given the love, support and respect that they need and deserve. I was the main caretaker and support for my Grandmother for many years as she grew sicker and less able to give herself basic care. I was greatly pained to see her loneliness and increased isolation from family and friends as they began to act as though her contributions and connections in this world had ceased.

Thank you very much for talking about this in such an important way, for giving us a view into this issue from Brazil and for the amazing work you are doing to support the elder community.

Much gratitude.
Sincerely Denise Beaudet/Roots To Resistance

You are absolutely right when he speaks of his family and reactions in relation to the aging process.

Sometimes we act as if we were to be eternal. Do not look at what day in the mirror of signals in the creases of wrinkles on the face. It is easier to cover them with bruch.

The change to look at this process should be initiated in childhood, teaching children to approach the elderly with respect and promoting the meeting in generations, respecting each development phase in life, however, giving it the value it deserves.

Today I'm older than yesterday. I hope 20 years from now when I am 74 years old age is a quality of life. But I also know that the muscles to hold my bones this time however, need to be worked, and I can start today, gotta have the continuity of this activity.

I need to work with my memory, do activities that mantenha.Buscar structure this future, is plotting a smooth ceramic anti slip floor of my kitchen, or widening doors, who should be standardized for the entry of a chair wheels. In order that the future will be old? Maybe depends on me 60% of success this time, 10% pros natural accidents of life that seek to mitigate security measures and 20% for inherited diseases that I can get more control of my health care.

So maybe depends on me out instead of 60% almost a 90% comply with this quality of life to stay on earth?

I see Dona Pilar 101 years, full of dreams, independent, happy and living your life with the quality deserved, and that is how we need to think and where to go.


revchristie's picture

Thank you

Thank you for your wonderful work and for reminding us all to care for our elders. Also reminding us to plan for our own future and help others plan for theirs.

Valéria Barbosa da Silva's picture

Very good.

You're right on all points of view. The future will be a gift in our lives if we take care of our future.

Kisses sister.

Valéria BArbosa

Kristin Miller's picture

Fascinating topic, Valeria!

Valeria, thank you for opening our eyes to this fascinating (and critically important) topic! This is an inspired piece that offers valuable perspective on so many complex layers of the issue.

I am especially moved by your own stories working "on the front lines." I admire your creativity, your caring, your generosity, and your strength in affecting positive change in the lives of both young and old!

Thank you and keep up the good work!


Hi Kristin

It is very important to open our eyes to life. Life is magnificent in all its phases. Each has given significant that we can not ignore.

I've benefited from my own life story. My school was born before learning the theory. Learned with practice. I was hungry to understand the need to eat to be healthy. I was homeless several times because of flooding know the value of having a real home.

I had a family for the most part illiterate, to understand the value of education.

I was beaten, abused, rejected, experiencing the pain of being a victim and learn to reject violence and so I was able to specialize to understand and combat this phenomenon.

All these years I spent living comes to serving me to try to minimize the pain of others and my development as a person. Because if the other screams in pain, I also sinto.Se other is hungry, and demands of my stomach.

"Love your neighbor as yourself." the legislature one of the world, Moses, recorded in his advice and I have tattooed on my soul. I am part of the context. I do not want to break my other party and / or suffer. If not, I'll fall.

Love in the heart.
And grateful for your kindness

MaDube's picture

Dear Valeria

This is a very interesting topic. I just have two questions for you; how do you see these patterns of aging impacting (one), the migration patterns into Brazil in terms of provision of labour since the young are dying young and the older generations will become older until they cant provide the required labour and (two), how do you see the fact that there are more females than males both in the younger groups and elderly groups impacting the distribution of labour along the lines of gender? This comes rather in the whole discussion of the feminisation of old age-are women expected to do less when they are older or does the burden still fall on them since the men are dying younger.

Otherwise a very interesting topic and well written piece.



In fact adults, especially women live longer, there is a large paragraph of dying young because of the violence of transit and social risks and fewer children being born.

Problems involving the public policies are not disasociados of reflection that occur in societies especially in Brazil. There are also implications for other issues such as genres, racial, economic, and cultural influence in forming the joint life expectancy of the individual. What is important is investing in prevention from childhood to old age with an aim more quality chances.

The women for a long time we have borne this burden, either by keeping our homes or caring for people.

Since the low education of young people makes the market recap retirees.

Celine's picture

Dear Valerie, Thank you for

Dear Valerie,

Thank you for this reminder and for teaching us how to care for the elderly. I have an aged mother-- she is over 70 and I am glad that she is sound and healthy and above all my closest friend.

I learn a great deal from your article, dear sister.


Valéria Barbosa da Silva's picture

Thank you for

Celine my dear mother is 78 years and is the dearest person in my life, physically independent, sweeping the yard all day, do tai chi chuam. It is much loved by all.

I am very happy to hear that your mother is your greatest friend.


Valéria Barbosa da Silva's picture

Thank you for

Celine my dear mother is 78 years and is the dearest person in my life, physically independent, sweeping the yard all day, do tai chi chuam. It is much loved by all.

I am very happy to hear that your mother is your greatest friend.


mrbeckbeck's picture


Valeria, this is such a great Feature Story. I think you've laid out a very innovative approach to working with the elderly in our world. Setting up spaces for children and the elders to interact is a great idea, and I can imagine it brings new appreciation for life and living to everyone involved. The pictures are beautiful and brought a smile to my face. I think that all too often, elders are swept aside out of our lives. It's a tragedy that they're forgotten.

I think that it was also really interesting how you point out that someone who was rebellious as a child and young adult won't necessarily turn out to be a sweet and gentle grandparent. Now that you say it, it makes a lot of sense!

I loved your topic, and am so proud of the work you're doing---as always! Way to go, keep it up!


Scott Beck
World Pulse Online Community Manager

Valéria Barbosa da Silva's picture

Together we are.

Perhaps being born in a slum area, having lived all difficulties with people, I have learned to see people, life, and not beings of different ages. I lived with the elderly, adults and children, working since childhood. When I learned from each.

Today I have the opportunity to work groups uniting the ends of life. And again they were, the elderly, who taught me to work. I am releasing a book talking about these people in the community, in fact some people.

On the cover with my photo, I put the name as a journalist WordPulse citizen.

When I think of my future, I want to be old, but I know what it means to live longer. As well as preserving the environment, we must prepare our being. With prevention in nutrition, exercise, adapting our space, demanding greater attention to public policies and forming networks to strengthen the health care physical, mental and intellectual population, however, need to be fit for the constant modernization of advanced technologies or be in the future, outside the old communication.

The vision decreases with age. With decreasing size of devices there is also more difficult to handle. It is interesting to think about the future technology also facing the elderly. If the world grows older it is necessary to prepare the world for the future of people with less tactile perception, visual, etc..

I now know more technology, thanks to WordPulse. The internet has become a major tool for change in my life, I can communicate with you and be understood. This exercise helps my memory and my firm's involvement in this understanding the future. Many seniors are already out of this process.

And 15 years from now, when this world is more of an aging populace, as will be handling these tools?

The technology must be modernized, but the devices need not be so small. We need tools for the elderly, or we will be out this process.

I thank you for all the stimuli that can transmit and affection to me and so many women worldwide. Certainly in our old age we have fostered respect for life.

Love in the heart

Ankur Naik's picture

As you and others have

As you and others have stated, our treatment of the elderly is in need of greater attention, especially as the demographics of our societies change. Thank you for writing about this important issue and for presenting an approach that brings people together and ultimately benefits us all.

Best wishes,
Ankur Naik
Technology Architect, World Pulse

Valéria Barbosa da Silva's picture

Our common life.

Ankur, grateful for his observation. The desire to promote quality of life in all age groups should always be the agenda of my actions, we are born to be happy. Happiness has no age.

Delighted that so many people in wordpulse working towards our development and the world. Congratulations to all the staff for all they have done for us women especially for me, today I am more confident and willing to add my changes in individual and collective actions.

grateful for all

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