What Is International Day of Older Persons?

The International Day of Older Persons will be celebrated on 1 October 2020 – an annual affair designed to not only recognize the contributions of our elders but also to educate and raise awareness about the growing challenges affecting the elderly society.      

As we know, the world population continues to grow at unprecedented levels, which in turn will lead to an increasing number of aged people. As we progress, we are bound to witness a change in societal demographic. It is estimated that by 2030 about 1.4 billion older people globally will outnumber their younger counterparts in several countries. In South-East Asia alone, it is estimated that older people expected to make up 13.7 percent of the population by 2030, according to regional World Health Organization (WHO) data. 

Our seniors are important figures who carry wisdom, experience and can still contribute to society and also towards their family members, but still face numerous stigmas in which their presence is viewed as a ‘burden’ in a growing world. This should never be the case!

To ensure equal representation of the elder society, on December 4, 1990 the United Nations General Assembly established the International Day of Older Persons or International Day of the Elderly in efforts to raise awareness about issues affecting the elderly as well as to appreciate their contributions to society. The event was first celebrated on October 1, 1991, and continues to be observed until today.

Hence, the main purpose of the International Day of Older Persons, aside from recognizing their contributions is to help make the society realize the need for adequate care that the elderly deserves.

October 1 is a special day that has been dedicated in recognition of the elders and celebrated in many ways. In some cases, politicians make speeches and announcements commemorating the day. It’s common to hear radio broadcasts, television news channels and the local newspapers point out the day for its citizens to be made aware. Sometimes achievements made by elders in the community can be highlighted and broadcasted to help educate the society in general.

Promotional materials for the day help make more people aware and assist in sparking interest and care. Many volunteer organizations will also get together to help make people more focused on the purpose of this day by visiting care homes to assist the elderly. Or it can be something simple as visiting your grandparents and spending quality time with them.

Ultimately it is important to bring our society today a measure of self-awareness and wisdom about the elderly. In addition to the wonderful things older people bring to our lives, a day set aside to honour them reminds us to take the time to be kind and humble in the presence of a long life well-lived. The holiday is a way to educate younger people on many of the issues faced by the elderly, such as abuse and senescence among many other things. By understanding these challenges faced by the elderly, this is a reminder that there is still much to learn about ourselves and our growing world today.





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