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With people living and working longer, it’s increasingly important that communities and individuals work hard to recognize the importance of supporting senior citizens and OAPs (aka Old Age Pensioners) within society. International Day of Older Persons is an opportunity to acknowledge the long-term contribution and dedication of older people, and to ensure that people are doing their best to give something back to these older people.

History of International Day of Older Persons

The International Day of Older Persons dates back several decades, to 1990, when the United Nations General Assembly voted to designate the day on the first of October. Also supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), the day has since been observed each year with the purpose of raising public awareness about the challenges and opportunities faced by older people as well as by their families and support network.

Each year, a new theme is chosen that encourages folks to focus on one particular aspect that impacts older people and their communities. Past themes have included ideas such as: The Resilience and Contribution of Older Women, Resilience of Older Persons in a Changing World, and The Journey to Age Equality.

Show some respect and give a nod to those folks who have lived many years and gained much experience by celebrating International Day of Older Persons. In addition, the calendar year offers several different days that encourage the celebration of folks of a certain age, such as National Senior Citizens Day, National Gorgeous Grandma Day, and Spunky Old Broads Day, as well as a few others! 

How to Celebrate International Day of Older Persons

Have a delightful time, learn a lot, and help someone out in the process by celebrating International Day of Older Persons. Get started with some of these ideas for observing the day:

Spend Time with an Older Person

Have a grandparent, aunt, uncle or neighbor who sometimes needs a bit of assistance accomplishing some tasks? Of course, visiting them can and should happen any time of the year. But it might be good to take International Day of Older Persons as an extra reminder of how important it is. Check in on them, see if they could use any help, or just sit with them awhile to keep them company.

Many people forget how much of a wealth of knowledge older people can be when they are allowed to tell their stories, share experiences and simply be heard. It’s like taking a page out of living history! So listen, learn and celebrate the day with them.

Volunteer in the Senior Community

Even those who don’t necessarily have any needy older persons in their own lives can still get involved with International Day of Older Persons by using it as a motivation to volunteer all throughout the year. Many community centers that cater to senior citizens, as well as retirement homes, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities, can make great use of volunteers to help out with various tasks. From helping with gardening to playing music to teaching an art class, there are often many opportunities to brighten the day of older people on a regular basis.

In the United States, some of the charities that offer matches in finding places for volunteering include the Elder Helpers program, Senior Companions program, or the National Council on Aging.

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