International Day of Older Persons

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2024 Date1 October 2024
2025 Date1 October 2025

International Day of Older Persons

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International Day of Older Persons History

International Day of Older Persons is a global observance that aims to appreciate the vital role and contributions older people make within our communities and to promote their rights and well-being. Established by the United Nations, this special day provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the challenges faced by elderly individuals, as well as the need for their continued inclusion in society. By recognizing the importance of intergenerational solidarity and ensuring that their needs and rights are acknowledged, we can contribute towards building a more equitable and inclusive future for all.

The United Nations General Assembly designated October 1 as the International Day of Older Persons in 1990, following major global initiatives to address the needs and problems faced by elderly people. In South Africa, the government has taken steps to address the concerns of this population, such as implementing the Older Persons Act of 2006, which seeks to protect and promote their rights. Policymakers are also committed to addressing key issues affecting older South Africans, such as income security, healthcare access, and housing. Various organizations and community-driven initiatives throughout the country are actively involved in addressing the growing needs of our ageing population.

In South Africa, International Day of Older Persons is marked by a variety of activities and events that aim at celebrating the achievements and contributions of older persons, raising awareness about their rights, and creating intergenerational connections. Various stakeholders, including government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and community groups, organize events such as seminars, workshops, and recreational activities that focus on this special cohort. The day provides an opportunity for South African society to acknowledge the importance of our elderly population, and to enhance their dignity, recognition, and respect. In keeping with the global community, International Day of Older Persons is observed annually on October 1st in South Africa.

International Day of Older Persons facts

  • The theme for International Day of Older Persons in 2023 is was Fulfilling the Promises of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for Older Persons – Across Generations. in 2022 the theme was Resilience of Older Persons in a Changing World.
  • Despite misconceptions, mental capabilities such as wisdom and knowledge often improve with age. Many older people continue to learn, work, and contribute to their communities.
  • Older people have lower physiological reserves, meaning they have less ability to compensate for stressors such as disease or injury.
  • Older people in South Africa generally have a high level of poverty, with many relying on social grants. The Old Age Pension is the main source of income for about 90% of older black South Africans.
  • South African women tend to live longer than men, meaning there are more older women than men. However, older women are also more likely to live in poverty.

Top things to do in South Africa for this observance

  • Spend time with older persons at a local senior care facility or retirement home. Engage in conversations, offer companionship, or organize a small entertainment program, such as playing music or organizing a movie night.
  • Use this day as an opportunity to advocate for the rights and well-being of older persons. Organize awareness campaigns, hold seminars or workshops addressing topics such as ageism, elder abuse, or the importance of creating age-friendly societies.

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