Celebrating the International Day of Older Persons
Posted on October 01, 2015
Today is the 25th International Day of Older Persons. This
year’s theme is sustainability and age inclusiveness in the urban environment. This
international day is designed to bring awareness to the challenges seniors face
all over the world.
Almost 700 million people are currently over the age of 60.
By 2050, the older person's population (those over 60) is expected to reach 2 billion. This means
there will be more older persons than there are children in the world. In spite
of this, accessible homes and age-friendly facilities are not being built. That’s
why we need this international day. It is a reminder to all of us that we need
to provide for today’s seniors.
How Do Urban Areas Accommodate 900 Million Seniors?
Today, older persons want to live near everything they need.
Cities provide easy access to everyday destinations including shopping,
doctor’s offices, and community events. Accessible public transportation makes
getting around easy and they can be close to friends and family. The number of
older persons moving into urban areas is increasing at a rapid pace. According
to the United Nations, the
number of seniors living in cities may grow up to 900 million by 2050.
With this in mind, cities must focus on improving the quality
of life for seniors. Well planned cities are a necessity. The best cities for older persons feature accessible housing and age-friendly public facilities. Public
transportation needs to be affordable, reliable and safe. An age-friendly city
encourages seniors to be active and engaged in their community.
Why is there an International Day of Older Persons?
In 1982, the World Assembly on Aging met to discuss issues
affecting seniors. Their goal was to help older persons enjoy
peace, security and health in their advanced years.
The World Assembly voiced a concern for the
challenges an unplanned city presents for the aging
population. Seniors deserve a life of fulfillment, health and security as
a fundamental part of society. This philosophy led the way for the Vienna
International Plan of Action on Aging. This initiative was the first
international event regarding aging and it laid a foundation for aging
policies in the future. At the United Nations General Assembly
in 1990, countries from around the world met again. At this UN
event, resolution 45/106 designated October
1st as the International Day of Older Persons.
What has been done for older persons since 1990?
The United Nation’s mission to face the issues presented to
older persons around the world did not stop there. They
did not want these resolutions to be forgotten as the world entered a new
century. In 2002, the Second World Assembly on Aging adopted
the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing. This
jumpstarted the plan for the 21st century.
In 2007, the World Health Organization partnered with 35
cities to document first-hand experiences of seniors and caregivers. They asked
questions such as: what age-friendly features are already in place? What would
enhance their health and participation? This research was compiled into a Global Age Cities Guide.
The guide highlights the issues and concerns for eight areas
of urban living voiced by older persons and their caretakers. The areas of concern
include outdoor spaces, transportation, housing, social participation, civic
participation, employment, community support and health services. This guide
led these cities in their effort to make urban environments more age inclusive.
What does this mean for the older persons population?
These plans have helped guide approaches to enhance the
lives of seniors around the world. Communities can continue to improve aging
population’s quality of life in the years to come. Cities have taken steps to
provide safe and accessible housing, as well as age-friendly public
facilities. Communities have recognized public
transportation as key to an older person’s inclusion in society. Individuals
are doing their part too. Many city residents are taking steps toward sustainability, this
year’s theme for International Day of Older Persons. Communities and their
residents must work together to make these changes happen.
Seniors play a critical role in our communities. They help
their families with care responsibilities, do volunteer work and take
part in the labor force. Their experience and knowledge is something
everyone can learn from. Age inclusiveness is a movement that all communities
need to take part of. On this 25th International Day of Older Persons, create
awareness and spread the word that 60+ counts.
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