International Day of Older Persons
The United Nation’s (UN) International Day of Older Persons is celebrated annually on October 1st to raise awareness about the well-being and needs of the elderly. The main objective of this day is to appreciate the contribution that older people make to society and also to help and support to raise awareness about various issues that surround the elderly in today’s society. The global position of older people is highly vulnerable because they face a lot of injustice and discrimination.
On December 14, 1990, the UN General Assembly made October 1 as the International Day of Older Persons. The International Day of Older Persons was observed for the first time on October 1, 1991. The day is celebrated annually to recognize the contributions of older persons and to examine issues that affect their lives. This day provides an opportunity to acknowledge the contribution, wisdom, dignity, and needs of our senior citizens and to rededicate our efforts to ensure their well-being.
The Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing and the Political Declaration adopted at the Second World Assembly on Ageing in April 2002 mark a turning point in how the world addresses the key challenge of “building a society for all ages”. It focuses on three priority areas: older persons and development; advancing health and well-being into old age; and ensuring enabling and supportive environments. It is a resource for policymaking, suggesting ways for Governments, non-governmental organizations, and other actors to reorient the ways in which their societies perceive, interact with, and care for their older citizens.
Our elders are the people that deserve respect for their experiences that they have gotten over time. People celebrate this day by spending time with their grandparents, visiting old age homes, gifting them cards, flowers and arranging meals for them. Each year the International Day of Older Persons has a theme that is a social objective set by the UN for the well-being of older people. The Theme of International Day of Older Persons 2020 – “Pandemics: Do They Change How We Address Age and Ageing?”.
In many countries, politicians make speeches that focus on senior citizens. Government declares several schemes regarding the benefits for senior citizens on this day. Some radios, televisions, and newspapers publish interviews with senior citizens on various issues such as achievements they made to create a better society. Older people need help and support to survive because of their degrading health due to age, and we must actively do so whenever and however we can.
Other activities surrounding this day include the display of promotional material on the International Day of Older persons in schools, institutions, office buildings and public notices boards, media announcements on the activities that promote and support older persons.
Suggested Read: World Senior Citizen’s Day
Status of the Elderly in India
Although many laws have been enacted in India to protect the elderly and to give them rights, even today they are not followed properly. The Central Government has formulated a National Policy for Older Members in the year 1999 to promote the health and welfare of senior citizens in India. Under this, individuals are encouraged to make arrangements for themselves and their husband or wife for old age and also to encourage the family members to take care of the elderly members.
Along with this, the Parents and Senior Citizens Maintenance Bill has been passed in Parliament in 2007. It provides for the maintenance of parents, the establishment of old age homes, provision of medical facilities, and protection of life and property of senior citizens.
In the year 2020 marks the 30th Anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons. This year also witnessed the emergency of COVID-19 where the older persons are at higher risk.
Suggested Read: Grandparents Day