Many ways to celebrate International Day of Older Persons in 2023
The first of October is an important date in the Ageing Better calendar as we come together to mark International Day of Older Persons.
This year’s awareness day will be marked with scores of events up and down the country including information events, festivals, exhibitions, and discos.
This Sunday, we will join other countries around the world in celebrating the International Day of Older Persons (or IDOP as it is commonly known).
It is an important date in the diary for the Centre for Ageing Better as we consider what it is to grow older in the UK and how we prepare for the opportunities and challenges of an ageing population.
IDOP has formal beginnings. On 14 December 1990, the United Nations General Assembly designated October 1 as the International Day of Older Persons, to raise awareness of opportunities and challenges faced by ageing populations, and to mobilize the wider community to address difficulties faced by older people.
Since the first IDOP, the day has grown in scope and size every year and is now a key date for organisations and individuals who have an interest in ensuring everyone has the opportunity to age well.
Much has changed in the global context since the UN created IDOP 33 years ago.
A person born in 1990 could expect to live for 64 years, according to a global average. A person born today can expect to live beyond their 73rd birthday.
In 1990, around one in 17 people worldwide were aged 65 or above. Jump forward to 2021 and that proportion had risen to one in ten people worldwide. In 2050, this age group is projected to account for one in six people globally.
The fact that many of us are living longer is to be celebrated but it’s going to have an impact on how our society and communities need to function.
And this is why becoming an Age-friendly Community, a place that enables people to age well and live a good later life, has never been more important.
The UK Network of Age-friendly Communities, facilitated by the Centre for Ageing Better and part of a global movement led by the World Health Organisation, continues to grow and now has 70 places across the country committed to making their community a better place to age in.
Today, over 25 million people are living in an Age-friendly Community in the UK, including towns, boroughs, districts, cities and city regions.
This year’s UK theme for IDOP Know Our Place: Celebrating ageing in our community’s past, present and future is an opportunity for people to get curious and be proud about the place they call home.
A chance to come together across age-groups to discover their place’s past, to celebrate the diverse range of people and places making it a great place to age, and to commit to make the changes that could mean more people can enjoy good later lives in that place – now and in the future.
The day, and in the days that precede and follow it when IDOP events are being held, is an opportunity for everyone to get involved and celebrate the contribution being made by older people in communities across the UK.
Year on year, the activity around IDOP grows and this year there are scores of events organized up and down the country marking the occasion.
There are far too many to mention here but these are just a few highlights from this year’s IDOP activity:
Cheshire West and Chester are inviting people of all ages to get together for a trip down memory lane at some of their libraries this October. Together with local history groups and their Archives team, the events will feature photographs and maps through the years – with a chance for residents to enjoy tea and cake, and to discuss what could make the area better in the future.
Doncaster are celebrating their first IDOP as a UK network member by promoting their local Windrush exhibition, hosted by Heritage Doncaster. The online exhibition features personal accounts from residents sharing what it was like growing up in a Caribbean household in Doncaster, and will be complimented by ‘old’ and ‘new’ photographs – echoing other in-person activities and events celebrating the stories of residents.
The Ageing Well Brighton and Hove annual festival provides opportunities for people aged 50 and over explore new experiences and meet new people. With a packed and diverse program of events, the festival aims to inspire older individuals to actively participate in the community. From cherished favourites like vintage Routemaster bus trips, to new and exciting activities such as wilderness exploration sessions and make-up lessons, there’s something for everyone.
In Age-friendly Communities like Leeds, micro-grants have been available ahead of the day to help fund IDOP events. In Calderdale, voluntary and community organisations have been able to apply for small grants of up to £400 to deliver celebratory events that are open and accessible to older people, family and carers and that celebrates positive images of older people ageing well in their place.
Supporting communities to mark International Day of Older Persons in October is just a small part of how we’re changing the narrative on ageing at the Centre for Ageing Better. Sign up to the Age-friendly Movement and receive our newsletter to find out how you can be involved.