International Day for the Elderly

October 1 -International Day for the Elderly

October 1 marks the United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Older Persons. Also known as International Day of the Elderly, the event recognizes the contributions of older persons. It is a special day for senior citizens or older persons worldwide. Talking about the history of International Day of Older Persons, in 1982, World Assembly on Ageing had passed Vienna International Plan of Action of Ageing. The plan was endorsed later that year. This initiative was marked as a historical day for elder people. To strengthen the cause, the United Nations General Assembly made October 1 as the International Day of Older Persons in 1990. The day was first observed throughout the world on October 1, 1991.

Additionally, the UN General Assembly adopted the United Nations Principles for Older Persons in 1991. Second World Assembly on Ageing took place in the year 2002. The occasion marked adoption of “Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing to respond to the opportunities and challenges of population ageing in the 21st century and to promote the development of a society for all ages”. According to WHO, the number of older persons is expected to quadruple in the next 50 years. Other data are more staggering in terms of percentage of elderly people in world population in next 50-100 years.

International day for the Elderly is marked with special events, celebration and plenty of activities. Speeches focusing on elder citizens are made. Opinions are generated to improve the situations of older population. Extensive media coverage is provided to the cause of elder generation and what can be done to improve the situation. Campaigns are launched to raise awareness about duties of youths and children for their elders. Voluntary activities focusing on health, education and community service etc are also organized. The World Health Organization (WHO) plays an active role in highlighting health related issues of older people.