Global Ageing Network Recognizes UN International Day of Older Persons (IDOP)
Across the globe, recognition and commemorations of the International Day of Older Persons (IDOP) took place on October 2, 2023. Bill Smith, former board member of the Global Ageing Network, opened the proceedings at the United Nations on the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
It was widely agreed that this instrument is a fragmented and inadequate framework that does not adequately address the rights of older persons. The High Commissioner of Human Rights at the United Nations noted that across generations, we must work together to address ageism and age discrimination. He encouraged all states to pledge their commitment to protecting the rights of older persons and to make progress towards a convention.
The IDOP panel highlighted several critical points: the importance of intergenerational cohesion, the fact that age discrimination is costing us $850 billion per year just in the U.S.; and the need to recognize older persons as the catalyst for change.
Older persons are increasingly being marginalized around the world even as their numbers are rising. Emi Kiyota, former Global Ageing Network board member and founder of Ibasho, shared her insights: “How do we co-create a shared future where older persons can live with purpose and meaning? It needs to start with a change in mindset which needs to start with incorporating the voice and engagement of older persons. When we don’t involve older persons, in voice and in decision making, we perpetuate dependency, ageism, stigma, segregation, and social isolation.”
While IDOP is just one day out of 365, it is a helpful reminder that older people matter, and we each need to do our part to ensure that their rights are protected and respected.