International Day for the Elderly: Celebrating the golden years

The elder citizens of our society get very lonely and face a number of physical and mental challenges with age. International Day for the Elderly is a reminder to fill their lives with love and care.

Her frail body had suddenly found a treasure trove of energy. That wrinkled face was now frequently erupting into peals of laughter. In short, her happiness knew no bounds. After recovering from a traumatic cancer treatment in her seventh decade, my mother was suddenly experiencing unlimited joy, as all her children and grandchildren had gathered to be with her. Each of them had travelled from different corners of the world to mark her 79th birthday. It was no less than a dream coming true for her to find her clan taking out the time and finding resources to celebrate her big day.

In her own words, finding all her children together, sharing laughs, reminiscing memorable moments and just being there together, had given her a new lease of life more than the treatment had. She now hoped to live with unbridled joy for at least 10 additional years.

Unfortunately, most elderly people of our society find themselves in the midst of a whirlpool, one of fast depleting energy levels, age-related disorders and diseases.  However the biggest threat of all is loneliness that steadily becomes their constant companion. To draw the attention of our various communities towards the elderly population and their challenges, the United Nations General Assembly on December 14th , 1990, designated October 1st as the International Day of Older Persons.

Currently, we can see a rapid growth in the number of people reaching older age. According to WHO, the number of older people (who are aged 65 years or older) tripled from around 260 million in 1980 to 761 million in 2021. By 2050, the older population is projected to increase from less than 10% to around 17% worldwide.

The contemporary world moves ahead at a fast pace. Technology, the demands of everyday life, hypercompetition and the battle for resources make it even more difficult for the older population to cope with modern life. While the young and abled fight their own battles each day, the elderly citizens often find themselves without support. This adds to their misery, worsening their physical and mental health.

International Day for the Elderly underlines the significance of promoting health, preventing and treating illnesses in the latter years of life. Supportive communities become pivotal in helping older people to remain active and retain their spirit and enthusiasm for life.

Decade of healthy ageing

2021-2030 is being celebrated as the decade of healthy ageing and particular attention is being paid to bring together governments, communities, medical professionals, academia and communication agencies to improve the lives of older people, their families and communities. This is a commendable initiative to bring the older population under the ambit of focused and collaborative action.

Each year, International Day for the Elderly celebrates our senior members to draw attention to their various concerns and figure out ways to help them.

Creating awareness about the elderly

October 1st, the International Day for the Elderly, is one day dedicated to the cause of our ageing population. It draws attention to the senior people and their various concerns.

Once retired from active life, elderly people face many challenges. Their productivity tends to become less but the guidance, wisdom and maturity they have is invaluable. This particular day serves as a reminder for the youth to be of assistance to this precious population, to be sensitized about their needs and wellbeing.

Acknowledging their contributions

While the elderly may have reached this age after living a full life that included tending to their young ones, taking care and nurturing their families, it is natural to hope for similar love and care when their dusk beckons. In fact, International Day for the Elderly provides an opportunity to acknowledge their contribution, wisdom, dignity and needs. On October 1st, we must try to renew efforts to ensure the wellbeing of our previous generation.

Loneliness, a silent killer

According to the National Health Service (NHS) of the United Kingdom, more than 2 million people in England who are over the age of 75, live alone, and even more shockingly, more than a million older people go without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member in a month. Loneliness is one of the most challenging situations that the elderly people face the world over. This  makes them prone to mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.

However, with efficient time management and co-ordination with support groups, younger family members can make time for the elderly, something they will greatly appreciate and cherish.

Respect and care above all

Becoming isolated after living a productive life is traumatic for older people. Receiving due respect and care from the younger generation can revitalize them. By feeling wanted and with requisite care, their chances of surviving through physical ailments and mental health deterioration improves largely.

No matter where, the older human generation needs a tender hand of love and support to pull them through the difficult later years. A day dedicated to the elderly brings fresh hope and leads the younger generation towards their support, building a community that makes them feel wanted and cared for.


When is International Day for Elderly celebrated?

To draw the attention of our various communities towards the elderly population and their challenges, the United Nations General Assembly on December 14th , 1990, designated October 1st as the International Day of Older Persons.

What is the significance of International Day of Elderly?

The day underlines the significance of promoting health, preventing and treating illnesses, especially in the latter years of life.




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