International Day of Older Persons is celebrated on 1st October every year to pay attention to the particular needs and challenges faced by many older people. If adequate guarantees are in place, the majority of older men and women can continue to provide their contribution for the functioning of society. Human rights lie at the core of all efforts in this regard. The interdependence between older persons’ social integration and the full enjoyment of their human rights cannot be ignored, as the degree to which older persons are socially integrated will directly affect their dignity and quality of life.
On 14 December 1990, the United Nations General Assembly designated 1 October the International Day of Older Persons. Living up to the principle of “Leaving No-One Behind” the population over 60 which is expected to reach 1.4 billion by 2030 should be addressed.
On the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the United Nations International Day for Older Persons (UNIDOP) celebrates the importance of this Declaration, and reaffirms the commitment to promoting the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by older persons. Growing older does not diminish a person’s inherent dignity and fundamental rights.
The theme of the 2018 UNIDOP is " Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions". What better way to celebrate this day than by celebrating the older people around the world who dedicate their lives to championing human rights?
The theme aims to:
The world’s population is rapidly aging. The number of people aged 60 years or older will rise from 962 million to 2 billion between 2017 and 2050. By 2030, this number will exceed that of young people aged 15 to 24. The increase in the number of older people will be the greatest and the most rapid in the developing world, with Asia as the region with the largest number of older persons. This demographic transition will impact on almost all aspects of society.
According to Population Census 2011, there are nearly 104 million elderly persons (age 60 years or more) in India. Percentage share of elderly persons in the population of India is ever increasing from 5.6 per cent in 1961 to 8.6 per cent in 2011.
As universal health coverage is the foundation for achieving the health objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals, it is essential to consider and fulfill the health and social care needs of the ever- increasing numbers of older people.
In India, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (the nodal Ministry for the welfare of senior citizens) observes the IDOP to acknowledge the contribution of senior citizens to the society and to sensitize the public at large about their problems and needs and to make society more elderly friendly. Integrated programme for older persons (revised on 01.04.2016) *, a central sector scheme is functioning to improve the quality of life of the Older Persons.
The National Programme for Health Care for the Elderly (NPHCE)** launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India (GOI) aims to provide free comprehensive health care to elderly through various levels of State Health Care delivery system including outreach services, District Hospitals with Geriatric Clinic (OPD) and 10 bedded Geriatric Ward; Bi-weekly Geriatric Clinic at Community Health Centres; Weekly Geriatric Clinic at Primary Health Centres; Domiciliary visits to the elderly persons by ANM/Male Health Workers posted under Sub-Centres and provision of callipers and supportive devices to make them ambulatory, and referral treatment at the Regional Geriatric Centres with 30 bedded Department of Geriatrics.
GOI also provides benefits like health insurance schemes, tax exemptions, and concessions in rail and air fares to the senior citizens.