International Day Of Older Persons: Loving & Caring Our Elders
By- Md. Mojahid Raza
Bhubaneswar: The International Day of Older Persons is observed every year on October 1. This was first observed on October 1, 1991 after the United Nations General Assembly on 14 December 1990 designated October 1 as ‘International Day of Older Persons’ by resolution 45/106. The day aims to raise awareness about issues affecting the elderly such as neglect, geriatrics, age-related ailments and elder abuse. It is also a day to appreciate the contributions that older people make to society.
At present, almost 700 million people across the globe are over the age of 60. It has been estimated that by 2050, 2 billion people (over 20 per cent of the world’s population) will be 60 or older. Furthermore, the number of older people will be the largest and most rapid in the developing world- countries of Asia and Africa.
Keeping this in mind, it is required that enhanced attention is paid to to the particular needs and challenges faced by many older people and elderly. Every human being desires love and affection and the older people are no exception. They deserve extra love for the important place that they hold in our lives as source of care and unconditional love.
Older people have always played a significant role in society, as leaders, caretakers and custodians of tradition. Yet they are also highly vulnerable, with many falling into poverty, becoming disabled or facing discrimination. Many are down with geriatrics and age-related ailments while some lie neglected by their own families; confined within the four walls of their homes. There are thousands of others who live a sad life and are victims of elder abuse at the hands of their own children/family.
Although Maintenance and Welfare of Senior Citizens and Parents Act 2007 seeks to prevent elder abuse in India, cases are hardly ever reported as the elder abuse victims are too bogged down by shame and financial dependence to complain.
Due to improved health care facilities, the population of older people is growing. Their needs are also growing, as are their contributions to the world. With respect to this, UNFPA is supporting research into the phenomenon of global ageing and promoting the adoption of policies that support older people and meet their needs.
Thus October 1 or the ‘International Day of Older Persons’ is a day to stand with older people and elderly promote the development of a society that is hospitable to people of all ages. The theme of International Day of Older Persons 2018 is “Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions” which aims at promoting and protecting the rights of older people besides encouraging the development of a society for all ages.