International Day of Older Persons

International Day of Older Persons – 1 October

The International Day of Older Persons is an opportunity to highlight the important contributions that older people make to society and raise awareness of the issues and challenges of ageing in today’s world (see the United Nations Programme on Ageing).  Resolution 45/106, passed by the United Nations General Assembly on 14th December 1990, declared 1st October to be the International Day of Older Persons. This observance is similar to National Grandparents Day in the United States and Canada, the Double Ninth Festival in China and Respect for the Aged Day in Japan.

Northern Territory

Join COTA NT in celebrating the role senior Territorians play in the Northern Territory- both the things they have done, and the things they keep doing.

The NT Seniors Recognition Scheme – The Northern Territory Government recognises the valuable contribution seniors make to the NT and is available to all eligible residents of the Northern Territory 65 years old and over (read more).

UN International Day of Older Persons Themes

  • 2022: The Resilience and Contributions of Older Women
  • 2021: Digital Equity for All Ages
  • 2020: Healthy Ageing
  • 2019: The Journey to Age Equality
  • 2018: Celebrating Older Human Rights champions
  • 2017: Stepping into the Future: Tapping the Talents, Contributions and Participation of Older Persons in Society
  • 2016: Take A Stand Against Ageism
  • 2015: Sustainability and Age Inclusiveness in the Urban Environment
  • 2014: Leaving No One Behind: Promoting a Society for All
  • 2013: The future we want: what older persons are saying
  • 2012: Longevity: Shaping the Future
  • 2011: The Growing Opportunities & Challenges of Global Ageing
  • 2010: Older persons and the achievement of the MDGs
  • 2009: Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the International Year of Older Persons: Towards a Society for All Ages
  • 2008: Rights of Older Persons
  • 2007: Addressing the Challenges and Opportunities of Ageing
  • 2006: Improving the Quality of Life for Older Persons: Advancing UN Global Strategies
  • 2005: Ageing in the new millennium
  • 2004: Older persons in an intergenerational society
  • 1998 and 2000: Towards A Society for All Ages

WHO global strategy and action plan on ageing and health

The World Health Assembly resolution related to the WHO Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing and Health, adopted in May 2016, calls on the Director-General to develop, in cooperation with other partners, a Global campaign to combat ageism and achieve the ultimate goal of enhancing the day-to-day experience of older people and to optimise policy responses.

Ageism is stereotyping and discrimination on the basis of a person’s age. Ageism is widespread and an insidious practice which has harmful effects on the health of older adults. COTA challenge everyone to identify and question these internalized ageist attitudes, and to understand the serious impact that these attitudes have.

For older people, ageism is an everyday challenge. Overlooked for employment, restricted from social services and stereotyped in the media, ageism marginalises and excludes older people in their communities.

Age-based stereotypes influence behaviours, policy development and even research. Addressing these must lie at the core of any public-health response to population ageing. (World Report on Ageing and Health)

Ageism is everywhere, yet it is the most socially “normalized” of any prejudice, and is not widely countered – like racism or sexism. It exists when the media portrays all old people as “frail” and “dependent”. It influences (subconsciously or actively) the policy maker to opt for cost containment in preference to making appropriate adaptations and investment in infrastructure and services for ageing societies These attitudes, pervasive yet invisible, lead to the marginalisation of older people within our communities and have negative impacts on their health and well-being.

Older people who feel they are a burden may also perceive their lives to be less valuable, putting them at risk of depression and social isolation. Research by Levy et al shows that older adults with negative attitudes about ageing may live 7.5 years less than those with positive attitudes.

Page updated: April 2021

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