International Day of Older Persons

International Day of Older PersonsEvery year, October 1st is International Day of Older Persons, sometimes referred to as International Day of the Elderly. Established on December 4th, 1990 by the United Nations General Assembly, the holiday was created to raise awareness about issues affecting the elderly as well as to appreciate the contributions that older people have made to society. It was first celebrated on October 1, 1991.

The number of aging persons in the world will grow from an estimated 600 million people to almost 2 billion over the next 50 years. By 2050, one person in five will be aged 60 or over, compared to today’s one person in ten. This is a major change in the world’s demographics and will present huge challenges. The goal of the International Day of Older Persons is to raise awareness of the impact of this aging population, as well as to ensure that older adults age with dignity and continue to participate as active members of society.

This change in demographics is important to note because in our fast aging world, the aging population will increasingly play a larger role in society.  Already today, older people contribute greatly to society, through volunteer work or staying in the paid workforce longer, as well as helping out their families with caregiving responsibilities. Back in 1996, the World Health Organization released a statement on healthy aging, which said “Aging is a development issue. Healthy older persons are a resource for the families, their communities and the economy.”

For 2014, the 24th commemoration of the International Day of Older Persons, the theme is “Leave No One Behind: Promoting a Society for All.” Because of the rapid change in age segments around the world, the UN recognizes that for a successful future, the population over 60 years of age needs to be addressed. “Not addressing older persons means not addressing 20% of the global population by 2030, where there will be more people over 60 than children under 10,”the UN said. The theme of Leaving No One Behind addresses the fact that the growing aging population will shape key development challenges facing the world in the 21st Century.

A luncheon, open to the public, will be held at the United Nations headquarters on October 9th in New York City. Featured at the event will be keynote speaker Ms. Amina Mohammed, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning. There will also be a panel entitled “Breaking Barriers: Sharing Successful Innovative Approaches to Aging,” which will include stories from El Salvador’s grassroots organizers and showcase the technological innovations for the global aging populations.

At American Senior Communities, we honor our residents and the contributions they have made and continue to make to society.

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