International Day of Older Persons

The United Nations‘ (UN) International Day of Older Persons is celebrated annually on October 1 to recognize the contributions of older persons and to examine issues that affect their lives. On December 14, 1990 the United Nations General Assembly voted to establish October 1 as the International Day of Older Persons as recorded in Resolution 45/106.

International Day of Older Persons

The holiday is celebrated by raising awareness about issues affecting the elderly, such as senescence and elder abuse. It is also a day to appreciate the contributions that older people make to society. 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.

This holiday is similar to National Grandparents Day in the United States and Canada as well as Double Ninth Festivalin China and Respect for the Aged Day in Japan. The observance is a focus of ageing organizations and the United Nations Programme on Ageing.

International Day of Older Persons is a special day for older persons or senior citizens all over the world. In many countries, politicians make speeches, particularly those responsible for government departments that focus on senior citizens, at this time of the year. Some radios, televisions or newspapers publish interviews with senior citizens on various issues such as achievements they made to create a better society.

The WHO logo is often seen on promotional material for the International Day of Older Persons.  The logo is often featured in the color white on a mid-blue background. It shows a stereographic projection of the earth centered on the North Pole under a serpent coiled around a staff. Two ears of wheat “cradle” the image. The projection symbolizes the global nature of the organization, while the serpent and staff are known to symbolize medical help and knowledge. Images of older people from different cultures and backgrounds around the world have been also used in UN promotional tools for the International Day of Older Persons.

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