The day is particularly pertinent because according to the UN, the number of older persons worldwide is projected to become more than double, reaching more than 1.5 billion persons in 2050, and 80 percent of them will be living in low- and middle-income countries.
The day was established back in 1990 by the United Nations General Assembly in a resolution. But already before this day was chosen as the International Day of Older Persons, the UN was already a strong advocate of the lives of older people.
Already in 1982, the Vienna International Plan of Action was adopted and endorsed by the General Assembly. A year after the International Day of Older Persons was established, the General Assembly adopted the United Nations Principles for Older Persons. 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.
In recent years, the international day has become more important as the composition of the world population has changed dramatically in the last century. Between 1950 and 2010, life expectancy worldwide rose from 46 to 68 years and over the next three decades, the number of older persons worldwide is projected to more than double, reaching more than 1.5 billion persons in 2050. All regions in the world will see an increase in the size of the older population between 2019 and 2050.
Resilience of older persons in a changing world
This year, the theme of the International Day of Older Persons is the resilience of older persons in a changing world. This theme will be celebrated by the NGO Committees on Ageing in New York, Geneva and Vienna and all the committees will have their own approach to the theme. For example, in New York the focus is on the resilience and contributions of older women.
According to the United Nations, this year’s International Day of Older Persons is meant to:
- Highlight the resilience of older women in the face of environmental, social, economic and lifelong inequalities;
- Raise awareness of the importance of improved worldwide data collection, disaggregated by age and gender;
- Call on member states, UN entities, UN Women, and the civil society to include older women in the centre of all policies, ensuring gender equality as described in the Secretary-General’s report, Our Common Agenda.
Better Internet for Kids for the International Day of Older Persons
Here on the Better Internet for Kids portal, we are fully committed to the goal of better digital skills for all generations, and we always look at issues relating to connecting generations online. The COVID-19 pandemic especially has shown the inequalities between digital skills, both for younger persons as older persons. We want to ensure that all members of the family can use the internet safely and responsibly.
- Our guide to apps aims to provide key information about some of the most popular apps, social networking sites and other platforms which are commonly being used by children and young people (and adults) today.
- Online safety is not only important for children and youth, but for the whole family. That is why the Portuguese Safer Internet Centre launched a new campaign to raise awareness about online safety and cybersecurity among older internet users.
- In a world where children’s playgrounds have gone mostly virtual, parents, carers and other family members can no longer be uninformed about the online world. They need to be aware of the potential risks and harmful content children and young people might be exposed to online. Read this article by the Maltese Safer Internet Centre on protecting children from online risks and harmful content.
- The new BIK+ strategy, adopted in May this year also talks about acquiring the necessary skills and competences to make informed choices and express yourself in the digital environment safely and responsibly. Read more about the strategy on a Better Internet for Kids (BIK+).