A day for our seniors

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Seniors matter for families and the nation. Picture: WWW.PEXELS.COM

Each year on October 1, people across the world mark UN International Day of Older Persons (IDOP) to raise awareness of opportunities and

challenges faced by ageing populations, and to mobilise the wider community to address difficulties faced by older people.

This year’s IDOP theme is ‘Fulfilling the promises of the universal declaration of human rights for older persons: across generations.’

In recognition of this milestone, and looking to a future that delivers on the promise to ensure that all persons, including all older persons, fully enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms, the 33rd commemoration of the United Nations International Day of Older Persons will focus on the theme of ‘Fulfilling the Promises of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for Older Persons: Across Generations’.

The event will put a spotlight on the specificity of older persons around the world, for the enjoyment of their rights and in addressing violations, and how the strengthening of solidarity through equity and reciprocity between generations offers sustainable solutions to deliver on the promise of the sustainable development goals.

The work of the international community around

intergenerational solidarity has demonstrated, time and again, through various fora that intergenerational solutions, which are guided by the human rights principles of participation, accountability, non-discrimination and equality, empowerment and legality, can contribute to rekindle the legacy, relevance and activism of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by empowering both youth and older persons to shift the needle of political will towards fulfilling the promises of the Declaration for all people across generations.

OLDTOBER — is a time for every family to celebrate their elders by giving them respect, dignity and love. Seniors matter for families and the nation.

Objectives of UNIDOP 2023

To increase global knowledge and awareness of the UDHR and generate commitments among all stakeholders to strengthen the protection of the human rights of current and future generations of older persons around the world; To share and learn from intergenerational models for the protection of human rights around the world; and; To call on Governments and UN entities to review their current practices with a view to better integrate a life course approach to human rights in their work, and to ensure the active and meaningful participation of all stakeholders, including civil society, national human rights institutions and older persons themselves, in the work on strengthening solidarity among generations and intergenerational partnerships.


On December 14, 1990, the United Nations General Assembly designated October 1 as the International Day of Older Persons (resolution 45/106). This was preceded by initiatives such as the Vienna International Plan of Action on Ageing, which was adopted by the 1982 World Assembly on Ageing and endorsed later that year by the UN General Assembly. In 1991, the General Assembly adopted the United Nations Principles for Older Persons (resolution 46/91). In 2002, the Second World Assembly on Ageing adopted the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, to respond to the opportunities and challenges of population ageing in the 21st century and to promote the development of a society for all ages. The number of older people (defined as those aged 65 years or older) tripled from around 260 million in 1980 to 761 million in 2021. Between 2021 and 2050, the global share of the older population is projected to increase from less than 10 per cent to around 17 per cent. Rapid growth in the number of people reaching older ages underscores the significance of promoting health, preventing, and treating illnesses throughout the entire course of life. In societies with aging populations, it becomes imperative to adjust to the increasing number of elderly individuals who possess a diverse range of functional capacities. The capability to carry out essential functions and partake in everyday activities is influenced not solely by an individual’s inherent capacity but also by the social and physical environments in which they reside. Supportive environments play a pivotal role in assisting older individuals to maintain their activity levels and independence as they progress in age.

Change the way you think about age! did you know?

The number of people aged 65 years or older worldwide is projected to more than double, rising from 761 million in 2021 to 1.6 billion in 2050. The number of people aged 80 years or older is growing even faster. Globally, babies born in 2022 are expected to live 71.7 years on average, 25 years longer than those born in 1950. Population ageing is an irreversible global trend. In 2021, 1 in 10 people worldwide were aged 65 or above. In 2050, this age group is projected to account for 1 in 6 people globally. Women tend to live longer than men and thus comprise the majority of older persons. In 1950, women could expect to live almost four years more than men globally. In 2021, the difference between the two had increased to more than five years. The number of individuals categorized as older working-age (55 to 64 years) is projected to surge from 723 million in 2021 to 1075 million in 2050, and eventually to 1218 million by 2100

Ideas for action to mark IDOP-October 1

  • The media could run stories on senior citizens on their achievements and concerns;
  • Business houses could sponsor activities of CSOs on older people and honour there present and past employees over 60;
  • Organise a healthcare clinic for seniors;
  • CSOs honouring the seniors with activities appropriate to there culture and religion;
  • Families could give a treat to their seniors;
  • Children could honour their grandparents;
  • Seniors themselves can get together and remember their old days and write stories of their experiences;
  • Schools could organise and honour their past teachers and former student over 60; • Visit the seniors in your neighbourhood;
  • Visit the senior citizens home;
  • How about organising seniors walk for health
  • Forum for older persons
  • Free medical checkups for seniors
  • Honoring senior citizens contribution to Fiji through tea/lunch/dinner focusing on healthy living
  • Honoring past senior officials and volunteers through tea/lunch/dinner
  • Picnics for seniors or field trips for seniors;
  • Entertainment for seniors
  • Forming a senior citizens network through inviting seniors to share experiences; 19. Grandparents dayIdentify the oldest person in your organisation/community/neighbourhood; and
  • Recognition through the provision of awards, gifts and certificates. Always be mindful of the health and general wellbeing of the older persons when you organise any event. Experience has shown that programmes should be no more than three hours at the most.


  •  MOHAMMED HASSAN KHAN is the chairman of Pearce Home Trust Suva Fiji (voluntary), former member of the National Council on Older Persons (NCOP) and chairman of the Fiji Pacific Network on Rights of Older Persons (FPNROP) ENewsletter- Grey Power Network. The views expressed in this article are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of this newspaper.