The International day for older Persons: History,Theme & significance

Every year on October 1, there is a celebration of International Day for older persons. The purpose of the day is to raise awareness of the significance of senior persons in our society and to show our appreciation for their contributions.

It’s a blessing that older people, whether they be family, friends, or just neighbors, are all around us. Older people are a wealth of knowledge, experience, and tales. They may encourage us to work harder or alert us to hidden hazards.

As the leaders of society, senior citizens are burdened with a great deal of duty. They also transmit knowledge to the younger generation as well as the customs and cultures of the society.

This day offers a chance to recognize the wisdom, needs, dignity, and contributions of our senior citizens while also renewing our commitment to ensuring their welfare.

History and Timeline of International Day of Older Persons

  • The UN General Assembly declared October 1 to be the International Day of Older Persons on December 14, 1990.
  • On October 1, 1991, the first International Day of Older Persons was observed.
  • In 1948, The United Nations aims to promote “older persons’ full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and basic freedoms”.
  • According to the UN, The “World Assembly on Aging” was adopted in 1982 and this marked the beginning of the world community’s efforts to raise awareness of the problems of senior citizens.
  • The first of October has been designated as the International Day of Older Persons by the UN. On October 1, 1991, almost 10 months after the adoption first International Day of Older Persons was celebrated globally.

The theme of the International Day of Older Persons 2022

The resilience of Older Persons in a Changing World is the primary theme for the United Nations International Day of Older Persons in 2022.

Issues faced by older persons

Older people, however, are also quite vulnerable, with many descending into poverty, dealing with health problems, or experiencing discrimination. They occasionally experience maltreatment as well, which has a negative impact on them. The majority of individuals view old age as a challenging time of life that came after the age of 65. It is widely accepted that old age is an inevitable, undesirable, and problematic stage of life. The major issue faced by older people are:

Physical Health

One of the major issues older adults face is physical deterioration and disease. A person’s declining health may make it difficult for them to engage in activities they enjoy or may obstruct their regular activities. Additionally, chronic sickness in the elderly may restrict their independence or result in a which is upsetting for most individuals.

Cognitive Issues

Age is frequently linked to mental health issues and cognitive deterioration. Aging persons are more prone to mental health problems such as dementia, psychotic depression, personality changes, mood swings, violence etc.

Emotional issues

Age-related health and mental decline tend the older persons to be dependent. Stress can be greatly increased by lost independence. In addition, a lot of elderly people struggle with emotional issues like feelings of loneliness and isolation. The loss of a spouse and other close family members worsens the condition of a person already suffering from stress, despair, and anxiety.

Social Issues

Retirement frequently results in reduced social life. Additionally, a person’s ability to participate in social life is limited by the loss of a spouse, friends, or family members. According to studies, among the most common anxieties, people experience as they get older are feelings of loneliness and being cut off from their social networks.

Financial issue

Loss of income from retirement from employment is common, and pensions received by the elderly are sometimes insufficient to cover rising living expenses. Despite spending their provident fund on things like child weddings, buying a new property, child schooling, and family maintenance, they are forced to change their status from “chief breadwinner to a mere dependent” because their income is lowered. The disease’s detection and treatment led to further financial issues for the elderly.

Reason for Celebrating the International Day of Older Persons

Senior citizens deserve our regard and consideration.

A day set aside to recognize older people serves as a reminder to be kind and humble in the presence of a long life that has been lived well, in addition to the beautiful things that they offer to our lives.

We wish to instruct children.

The festival serves as a platform for educating younger people on a variety of concerns affecting the elderly, including senescence, or the loss of mental and physical functions, and abuse.

Our knowledge is limited.

Hopefully, advancing age bestows upon us some level of knowledge and self-awareness. We are reminded that we still have a lot to learn about ourselves and the world by focusing on the difficulties that the elderly experience.

How to celebrate International Older Person Day

Have a conversation with a senior citizens

Even a senior citizen who lives in our own family can teach us something about ourselves if we take the time to get to know them.

Spend time in service

For older folks, there are many things that may be done to make their lives simpler. To discover what you can do to help, find out about local organizations that work with the elderly.

Celebrate with lunch.

National Senior Citizens Day might be well-celebrated with a little lunch or gathering at home. Include their favorite snacks and treats, and play popular music from their era.

Encourage them to talk to you about their past.

If your senior loved one lacks a journal or written history, think about assisting them in starting one. For instance, you might ask them to share some of their life experiences with you as you record their memories on your phone or with a tape recorder. Alternatively, you can choose to take notes as they discuss their life story on a piece of paper. Take any action that would make it the easiest for you to save their history for future generations.

Principles of the United Nations for Older Persons

UN encourages governments of various nations to wherever possible include the following values in their national programs:

1. Older people ought to have access to sufficient food, water, shelter, clothing, and medical care through the supply of money, support from families and the community, and self-help.

2. Older people should have access to employment possibilities or other sources of income.

3. Older people should be permitted to decide when and how quickly they exit from the labour force.

4. Senior citizens should have access to suitable education and training opportunities.

5. Residences for older people should be secure and flexible enough to accommodate their evolving needs and preferences.

6. As long as feasible, elderly people should be permitted to live at home.

7. Senior citizens should continue to be a part of society, actively engage in the creation and implementation of laws and regulations that directly impact their well-being, and pass on their knowledge and expertise to younger generations.

8. Older people should be allowed to look for and create opportunities for community service, as well as volunteer in roles that match their interests and skills.

9. Senior citizens should have the ability to organize groups or associations of older people.

10. In accordance with each society’s set of cultural values, older people should get care and protection from their families and their communities.

11. Older people should have access to healthcare in order to preserve or regain the best possible level of physical, mental, and emotional health as well as to delay the emergence of disease.

12. To improve their autonomy, protection, and care, older people should have access to social and legal services.

13. Older people should be able to access appropriate levels of institutional care that offer security, humane treatment, and mental and social stimulation.

14. Elderly individuals should be allowed to exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms when residing in any type of shelter, care facility, or treatment center. This includes being treated with complete respect for their dignity, beliefs, needs, and privacy as well as their ability to make decisions on their care and the quality of their life.

15. Older people should be able to make use of chances that will allow them to reach their full potential.

16. Older people should be granted access to society’s educational, cultural, spiritual, and recreational resources.

17. Elderly people should be free from exploitation and physical or mental abuse and be allowed to live in dignity and security.

18. Older people should be respected independently of their monetary contribution and treated properly regardless of their age, gender, racial or ethnic heritage, handicap, or another status.

The fundamental Rights of older people

1. Right to Dignity  

The law must preserve the elderly’s fundamental rights to life, dignity, and the integrity of their persons.

2. Right to Freedom from Exploitation, Neglect, and Abuse

Elderly people have a right to live a life free from exploitation, neglect, and cruelty.

3. Right to Freedom from Discrimination

The elderly have a right to equality and protection from prejudice. Regardless of their health or any disabilities, they will receive the same favorable treatment as other age groups. All facets of life, including employment, access to education, lodging, and other amenities, must be covered by the right.

4. Right to adequate healthcare

The aged have a right to a quality of living that is adequate for their health and well-being, including access to reasonably priced healthcare. Adequate and inexpensive healthcare includes medication, immunizations, and medical services such as physical therapy, surgery, nursing, and checkups, in the event of disease, disability, widowhood, old age, or other lack of livelihood because of situations beyond their control.

5. Right to Maintenance    

Senior citizens have a right to basic necessities, such as clean water and enough nutrition, which are essential for their health and well-being. The aged have a right to basic necessities of life, including but not limited to, decent shelter, clothes, and cleanliness in accordance with societal norms.

6. Right to Material Assistance  

The State must provide financial assistance to the elderly. At times when an elderly person cannot support themselves or rely on support from their family, material assistance shall be provided in the form of tangible support required for the maintenance of the elderly, including funds to support the maintenance of an elderly person, nourishing food, clothing, shelter, and medicine.

7. Right to Property  

Elderly people have the legal right to keep control of, continue making decisions about, and dispose of their property, money, and other belongings in conformity with the law.

8. Right to Participation in Society  

The aged have the right to engage in social, economic, cultural, and political life as well as programs for education and training. The elderly are entitled to priority access to transportation and medical care.

9. Right to Work

Depending on their capacities, elderly people have the right to employment. They have a right to fair wages and work environments that are suited to their need.

MIPAA, or the Madrid International Plan of Action on Aging

The Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA), which was adopted in 2002, provides a detailed action plan for addressing the issue of aging in the twenty-first century and creating a society for all ages.

It concentrates on three key areas: Development of older people; promotion of health and well-being throughout old age; creation of enabling and encouraging surroundings.

The MIPAA is the first global agreement that obligates nations to relate aging issues to other frameworks for social and economic development and human rights. Governments are also urged to involve senior citizens in the process of formulating policies.

The MIPAA is optional and has received support from 159 nations, but it is not binding law. Every five years, a participatory review of the Plan is held, and older people’s participation is encouraged.

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