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Statement on the International Day of Older Persons

September 30, 2020

On October 1st we celebrate the International Day of Older Persons.

First observed in 1991, the General Assembly of the United Nations designated this special day to draw attention to the important contribution of seniors and to changing demographics: the greying of the population, or the "age of aging."

This year marks the 30th year of the International Day of Older Persons, and recognizing the many challenges faced by older persons during the COVID-19 pandemic. This coincides with 2020 being recognized as “The Year of the Nurse,” the pandemic has shown the critical role that health care professionals play in our society. It has also further brought to light the vulnerabilities of older persons and the blatant abuses that occur when the health and care of our elders are put in the hands of for-profit organizations.


The 2020 theme aims to:

  • Inform participants about the strategic objectives for the Decade of Healthy Ageing.

  • Raise awareness of the special health needs of older persons and of their contributions to their own health and to the functioning of the societies in which they live.

  • Increase awareness and appreciation of the role of the health care workforce in maintaining and improving the health of older persons, with special attention to the nursing profession

  • Present proposals for reducing the health disparities between older persons in the developed and developing countries, so as to “Leave no one behind”.

  • Increase understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on older persons and its impact on health care policy, planning, and attitudes.

Older Persons & Covid-19


Since the onset of the pandemic, the United Nations has given priority to the needs of older persons in its collective preparedness and response action at global, regional and country level.


“Older persons are a valuable aspect of our society and their contributions are needed to strengthen communities and to have a functioning society,” says Les MacDonald Chair Unifor Retired Workers Council and Unifor National Executive Board member. “It is important to recognize that development will only be achieved if it is inclusive of all ages.”  Governments at all levels must ensure that older persons receive the care, the opportunities and support to experience Healthy Ageing.

Unifor retirees continue to fight for improved standards of living, whether it be through employer provided pensions, government pensions, fighting for better and more inclusive healthcare, dental care and a national pharma care program.

Between 2015 and 2030, the number of older persons worldwide is set to increase from 901 million to 1.4 billion, the number of people aged 60 and older will exceed that of young people aged 15 -24.

To achieve equality attention to the particular needs and challenges faced by many older people is required.

Empowering older persons by active participation in social, economic and political live is one way to ensure their inclusiveness and to reduce inequalities.

Seniors and retired workers will hold virtual events across the country in recognition of International Day of Older Persons, if you are not hosting an event, look for one in a community near you and help recognize the contributions of Older Persons.

For further information please contact Barb Dolan, Director Retired Workers Department at 416.998.3954 or barb.dolan@unifor.org.

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