Nowadays, people all over the world live longer. The life expectancy among the people is becoming better through improving lifestyle, health care, improved medical care, and sufficient food. But the same cannot be said about the quality of life for the elderly. According to the United Nations, by 2050, the world’s population aged 60 years or older will reach two billion. This is a huge leap from 900 million which was estimated in 2015. Today, 125 million people are aged 80 years or older.
Longer life for our elderly means more chances for them to take on new activities. They can also pursue a new career and increase their contribution to our society. However, it also means that they are at continuous risk of disease and disability. They also lose their quality of life over a period of time. The pandemic situation due to Covid 19 has been very harsh for older people. Being restricted to homes has affected their mental health. Along with that, lack of regular check-ups might have aggravated some chronic conditions.
This day is a very special day for the elderly of the world. International Day of Older Persons is celebrated on the 1st of October every year. This day was first observed on 1st October 1991. The aim of this day is to spread awareness about the need of society to take care of the elderly. This day also aims to make the people aware of the need for health provisions and issues affecting the elderly like elder abuse and senescence. It is a day to appreciate the contributions that older people make to society.
This holiday is similar to National Grandparents Day in the United States and Canada as well as the Double Ninth Festival in China and also Respect for the Aged Day in Japan. The observance is a focus of aging organizations and the United Nations Program for Ageing.
On the 4th of December 1990, the United Nations General Assembly declared that October 1st would be celebrated as the International Day of the Older Persons. The decision was taken after the Vienna International Plan of Action on Ageing was supported by the United Nations General Assembly. This plan was adopted in the year 1982.
The theme of this year for this particular day is “Digital Equity for All Ages.” The theme states that access to the digital world is important for the elderly. In 2021, the United Nations intends to raise awareness about the inclusion of the elderly. This will be done while acknowledging and dealing with the stereotypes, discrimination, and prejudice associated with digitalization, considering the right to autonomy and socio-cultural norms.