The International Day of Older Persons is observed annually on 1 October to address the issues and challenges that elderly people face and look for solutions to them. The day is focused on the special needs, rights and well-being of elderly people.
According to the United Nations (UN), the section of the world’s population that is aged 60 years and above will reach over 1.5 billion in the year 2050, up from 900 million in 2015. The International Day for Older Persons aims to make the world aware about the need for social care and health provisions for the elderly.
There were initiatives aimed at adopting a day to create awareness about the challenges faced by the elderly, with the Vienna International Plan of Action on Aging being chief among them. The plan was adopted by the 1982 World Assembly on Ageing. It was later endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in the same year.
On 14 December 1990, the UNGA designated 1 October as the International Day of Older Persons under Resolution 45/106 in its 68th plenary meeting.
This year, the UN has decided that the theme for International Day for Older Persons is “Digital Equity for All Ages”. The theme emphasises on active and meaningful participation of the elderly people in the digital world as well as making the digital world more accessible to them.
The UN will focus on the need to include the elderly in the digital arena this year. It also aims to acknowledge the stereotypes, discrimination and prejudice that is associated with the process of digitisation.
The UN will also highlight policies and legal frameworks that ensure safety and privacy for elderly people in the digital world. It will also create “an intersectional person-centered human rights approach for a society for all ages” as well as a legally binding instrument on the rights of elderly people, as per the official website of the UN.
On this day, people acknowledge the contribution made by elderly people to society with the World Health Organisation (WHO) organising discussions on how to provide adequate healthcare for them.