Celebrating the International Day of Older Persons

International Day of Older Persons

October 1st is the International Day of Older Persons. This special day was established in 1990 when the United Nations General Assembly voted to set aside a day for raising awareness about issues affecting the elderly. There are many ways older persons positively contribute to our world that are deserving of honor. A quote from Turkish playwright, novelist and philosopher, Mehmet Murat Ildan reads, “Old people deserve a medal, a medal of existence which crowns their long-term victory against the cruelty of time and the dangers of this chaotic universe!”

Today we celebrate older persons’ contributions to society. We also look for ways to make progress on improving the lives of senior citizens all around the globe. For instance, fall risk is a serious issue that leads to injuries on a daily basis. According to the World Health Organization, “Falls are the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths worldwide, and 37.3 million falls that are severe enough to require medical attention occur each year.”(1)

At Alert1, we provide emergency alert systems for seniors so they can get help if needed, 24/7/365. We offer a variety of solutions to suit the specific needs, budgets, and lifestyles of different seniors.

History and Evolution of the International Day of Older Persons

Before the International Day of Older Persons was established, it was preceded by the Vienna International Plan of Action on Aging in 1982. This plan helped guide the thinking and planning behind national policies and programs concerning aging.

The International Day of Older Persons was established on December 14, 1990, and was first celebrated the following year on October 1st, 1991. Every year a different theme is chosen to focus on. It generally entails a specific issue that older persons around the world face regularly. This includes topics such as rights, equality, sustainability, longevity, and technology.

After the day was established, it was followed by other initiatives to improve the lives of seniors all over the world. For instance, the Madrid International Plan of Action on Aging, helps address aging in the 21st century.  “It focuses on three priority areas: older persons and development; advancing health and well-being into old age; and ensuring enabling and supportive environments.”(2) The Madrid International Plan of Action on Aging is working to address various concerns as people live longer and desire to maintain a high quality of life.

This Year’s Theme - Digital Equity for All Ages

The theme for this year’s International Day for Older Persons is Digital Equity for All Ages. The United Nations lists five main objectives they hope to accomplish with this theme:

1.  To bring awareness of the importance of digital inclusion of older persons, while tackling stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination associated with digitalization, taking into account sociocultural norms and the right to autonomy.

2.  To highlight policies to leverage digital technologies for full achievement of the sustainable development goals.

3.  To address public and private interests, in the areas of availability, connectivity, design, affordability, capacity building, infrastructure, and innovation.

4.  To explore the role of policies and legal frameworks to ensure privacy and safety of older persons in the digital world.

5.  To highlight the need for a legally binding instrument on the rights of older persons and an intersectional person-centered human rights approach for a society for all ages. (3)

Computers and the internet are an integral part of our world. Businesses are focusing on their internet presence to stay relevant and sell their products. This has made it difficult for some seniors to get some of the tools and necessities they need. The United Nations and the nations of this world hope to make the digital age more accessible for seniors.

While the internet is still complex, there are simple technologies that can help keep seniors safe. Alert1 provides medical alert devices that immediately summon help during an emergency at the press of a button. Alert1 also offers fall detection options that do not require pressing a button, as built-in sensors automatically send alerts if falls are detected.

Honoring the Contributions of Older Persons to Society

There are many ways older persons have served and continue to serve our society. Here are just a few contributions to appreciate.

1. Lifetimes of Service

No matter what profession they may have held during their younger years or still continue to perform, our elders all helped grow and shape our society. Perhaps they provided a good or service to their local community, served their country, or helped raise the generations that followed them. No matter what contributions they may have made, they have worked hard to contribute to this world and deserve our respect and gratitude.

2. Knowledge of Trades

Many seniors are well experienced in various trades including cooking, baking, woodworking, plumbing, carpentry, mechanics, and more. Learning trades is something that younger generations have been less involved in. However, older generations have contributed a history of delicious food, sturdy homes, and working machines to this world.

Younger generations can learn much from older generations when it comes to trades and craftsmanship. If you are still active and working at a trade, an on-the-go medical alert watch from Alert1 can help keep you safe, track your steps, tell you the time, and report the weather.

3. Guidance for Younger Generations

Older generations have been through all sorts of hardships including wars, natural disasters, diseases, and more. Despite all this, they have weathered the storms. They know life can be rough, but they also know how to persevere. Therefore, they can help guide younger generations on how to get through tough times so that they may continue to thrive. They have plenty of wisdom to share.

4. Companionship

Older generations have great stories to tell. Many grandparents all over the world love to tell their children and grandchildren their best stories from throughout their life. Doing so provides great connections for families and allows them to bond. Sharing stories and wisdom is a great activity that benefits all ages.

5 Fun Facts and Statistics About Older Persons

Older persons continue to make the world a better place every day. To honor their contributions, here are some fascinating facts about seniors:

1. More than 40% of seniors have a computer and are active online. Additionally, about 15 million Facebook users are 65 and older. (4)

This is a great fact that fits the theme of this International Day of Older Persons and shows that seniors are indeed making progress in the digital age.

2. Nearly half of all seniors volunteer in some capacity, though only about 15 million are formally recognized volunteers. (5)

Even when daily tasks become more difficult, many seniors continue to do what they can to give back to their communities. If you are among these volunteers, an on-the-go medical alert system for seniors can help keep you secure while you give back to your community.

3. Harland David Sanders (Colonel Sanders), founded Kentucky Fried Chicken at the age of 65! (6)

It doesn’t matter how old you are, there is always potential to make a difference in this world. Many seniors continue to chase their dreams every day.

4. German philosopher Immanuel Kant published some of his greatest works between the ages of 60 and 80. (7)

There are plenty of ways to be creative in older age. No matter what hobby you choose, you can create wonderful things that can be meaningful to others. 

5. Older persons who are 60+ cast more ballots than any other age group in the United States. (8)

Seniors have significant power when it comes to determining our leaders. When you go out to vote, consider wearing a medical alert necklace for added peace of mind when you’re on the go.

7 Ways to Celebrate and Honor Older Persons

Every year, people who observe the International Day of older persons celebrate this day in a variety of ways. Some spend time with their favorite aging loved one while others volunteer at senior centers and nursing homes. Here are some great ways you can celebrate International Day for Older Persons:

1.  Spend Time with Seniors

One of the best ways to show appreciation to someone is by spending time with them. Socialization is important for all age groups. When we socialize, we make connections that bring us closer together and keep our brains active.

2. Politeness and Respect

Politeness and respect should be shown to seniors not just on International Day for Older Persons, but every day of the year. A simple smile, handshake, or “thank you” can go a long way in showing appreciation.

3. Go Out and Have Fun

As a person ages, it can become more difficult to travel and participate in fun activities. If you are looking to make a senior citizen happy, take them out to eat or on another fun trip. If you are a senior and concerned about falling, an on-the-go emergency alert pendant can give you access to help should it ever be required, no matter where you are or what time it is.

4. Discuss Family Heritage

Discussing family heritage can be beneficial for seniors, their children, and their grandchildren. The children and grandchildren get to learn about their family history while seniors get to share interesting parts of their lives. Sharing pictures and stories is a great way to connect with one another.

5. Video Chat or Phone Call

If the COVID-19 pandemic is holding you back from spending time with your favorite older person, a simple video chat or phone call can go a long way. Having a meaningful conversation or simple chat about current events can brighten almost any senior’s day.

6. Gifts, Cards, and Letters of Appreciation

Gifts, cards, and letters have always been a great way to show someone you care. Consider sending flowers, candy, or some kind words to your loved one to show them you care.

7. Volunteering at Senior Communities and Centers

Many senior communities and centers are always looking for help. Consider volunteering and helping seniors who could use a little extra care. You can make an older person feel good with your help while making yourself feel good as well.

Seniors all over the world deserve appreciation on this special day. With a little work and community support our society can make a better world for older persons. Every senior deserves to be safe, healthy, and happy. They have given so much to this world and deserve our respect and gratitude in return.



1,3 United Nations staff. 2021. International Day of Older Persons: 1 October. United Nations. 2021 Theme: Digital Equity for All Ages.

2 United Nations staff. n.d. Madrid Plan of Action and its Implementation. United Nations. Madrid Plan of Action and its Implementation.

4 Hart Heritage staff. March. 2018. 10 Interesting Facts about Senior Citizens. Hart Heritage Estates. 10 Interesting Facts about Senior Citizens.

5 Mountain Empire Legal Services staff. n.d. 10 Fun Facts about Senior Adults in Honor of the Upcoming National Older American’s Month. Mountain Empire Legal Services. 10 Fun Facts about Senior Adults in Honor of the Upcoming National Older American’s Month.

6,8 DoSomething.org staff. n.d. 11 Facts About Old Age. DoSomething.org. 11 Fac­ts About Old Age.

7 C, Anna. Aug. 2015. 10 Fun Facts About Aging. Moves for Seniors. 10 Fun Facts About Aging