The International Day of Older Persons is observed on October 1 and 2021 marks the 30th year since it was approved in a vote by United Nations General Assembly.
The theme for this year’s Older Persons’ Day focuses on finding more “Digital Equity for All Ages,” as there is a huge gap -particularly in developing countries – and the objective is to try and bring awareness to the importance of digital inclusion of older persons while tackling stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination associated with digitalization.
Enabling all the world’s people to access and use digital technologies and closing digital divides remains a challenge that needs to be addressed, according to the United Nations. It is estimated that 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 while 80% of them will be living in low- and middle-income countries.
The largest increase (312 million) is projected to occur in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, growing from 261 million in 2019 to 573 million in 2050. The fastest increase in the number of older persons is expected in Northern Africa and Western Asia, rising from 29 million in 2019 to 96 million in 2050 (an increase of 226 percent), the report states.
The second-fastest increase is projected for sub-Saharan Africa, where the population aged 65 or over could grow from 32 million in 2019 to 101 million in 2050 (218 percent). By contrast, the increase is expected to be relatively small in Australia and New Zealand (84 percent) and in Europe and Northern America (48 percent), regions where the population is already significantly older than in other parts of the world.
It remains remarkable to us how far technology has come in recent decades and it behooves us all to bring all seniors worldwide some of the benefits of technology. At Brookhouse Home, we are pleased that many of our residents are technically savvy and use their own laptops, phones, and tablets regularly. However, the need to advance with the times is always important.
International Older Person’s Day is also a day to appreciate the contributions that older people make to society. On that note, it has been an amazing year for seniors, considering that the current President of the United States is 78-years old. Other remarkable seniors include the late John Glenn who was the oldest astronaut to go into space as part of the Space Shuttle mission at the age of 77. The oldest person to reach the summit of Mount Everest is Yuichiro Miura who did so at age 80. Miura, who is Japanese, had completed the feat previously at age 70 and again at age 75. Another Japanese man named Minoru Saito became the oldest person to sail solo and non-stop around the world in 2011 at age 77. In 2017, Irish racer Rosemary Smith became the oldest person to drive a Formula 1 car at age 79. Smith was a rally race champion in the 1960s and won many trophies.