This issue draws out many aspects of growing old with the opportunity to hear the views of a number of older people directly. Older people have much to share and contribute, though some also need particular practical or medical support as they age.

This year the world celebrates the International Year of Older Persons. There are many ways you could celebrate this in your area. Suggestions include organising a visit, dance, competitions of various kinds, quiz, concert, exhibition or a party for older people.

Please find below articles from Footsteps issue 39 in html.

To download a pdf version of Footsteps issue 39 click here (944K).

  • Ageing and development

    by Alison Tarrant. Wherever in the world a person lives, the process of ageing is likely to raise challenges. Most people wish to remain independent as they grow older and to continue to contribute to their families and communities – but the ageing process may bring difficulties with it. In particular, older people are more likely to face financial insecurity, ill health or disability. In many countries most people move into old age after a lifetime of poverty, poor nutrition and ...

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  • Bible study: The wisdom of old and young

    The wisdom of old and young.   As we grow older, some of our activities may stop but New opportunities of love and living may also open up, as may awareness of past weakness. Whatever our age, God is there for us, and always will be. 

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  • Caring for older people at home

    Some older people remain in good health well into their 70s and 80s. Others may find their physical or mental health becomes less good as they grow older. Older people should be included as important members of the family, regardless of their health.

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  • Castor oil

    I am a regular reader who finds Footsteps stimulating and helpful. I found the information on moringa and neem very useful. Because of this, I am writing to ask for information about a plant called the castor oil seed plant. This is a large fast growing shrub with leaves similar to pawpaw. The seeds look like bugs with spotted skins and grow on seed heads with spiky coverings. Are there any uses for this plant that readers can share?

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  • Editorial

    I am fortunate to have clear memories of all four of my grandparents and even of two of my great grandparents. I had a very special relationship with one of my grandmothers, who died at the age of 95. Until a couple of years before her death, she was a wonderful source of wisdom and memories. I gained a great deal from her example. During recent research visits to Uganda and Ghana, I met many older people in the numerous farmer groups visited, who often reminded me of my Granny. They ...

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  • Experiences of older people

    Here we gather together interviews with a selection of older people in various countries. They share their thoughts on the differing ways older people are treated today and their hopes and fears for the future.

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  • Letters

    Cement mixer. Mixing large amounts of concrete or mortar by hand on the ground is backbreaking work. Mixing in a wheel barrow is better but the barrow is not an ideal shape for turning over the mix with a shovel. This is my suggestion which is simple to make.

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  • Resources

    Caring for the Elderly at Home Pages 8–9 are based on material from this useful booklet, which provides simple guidelines to help families in dealing with the common health problems of elderly people. It covers subjects such as preventing accidents, exercise, nutrition, illnesses, dying and caring for a bedridden person at home. It is available in English from:

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  • The changing needs of older people

    A South African Experience by Val Kadalie. ‘In an African setting it is quite unusual to have a home for the elderly.’ While this is very true in the rest of Africa, the South African situation has many differences concerning the care of older people.

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