Despite the celebrations that take place on October 1st, the United Nations International Day of Older Persons (UNIDOP), an annual event that commemorates the contributions made by older people to society, it is hard not to also recognize the challenges that ageing populations globally still face. Two billion people will be 60 years or older by 2050, making up over 20% of the world’s population. A global rise in life expectancy combined with falling fertility rates has contributed “to the rapid ageing of populations around the world” (WHO Report on Ageing, 2015). It is now imperative that we start addressing the needs and challenges faced by older people, and the ageism and age discrimination that many experience on a daily basis.
Even in the policies and programs that exist today, diversity within ageing populations is often ignored, negatively impacting attempts to improve the health and well-being of older people. Life experience has a critical role in the ageing process and yet, it is often assumed that the needs of older people are all the same, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, citizenship status, to name just a few.
For this reason, one of the major themes of the 14th Global Conference on Ageing is Addressing Inequalities. In preparation for the Conference the IFA is encouraging thoughtful conversations with and about several sub populations which are rarely headliners – older migrants, older refugees, older prisoners, older women, older homeless people, older indigenous persons and older LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex).
The IFA blog post series entitled Unequal Ageing aims to explore the unique challenges experienced by these older adults. Join with IFA and its conference partners to give voice to those experiencing these inequities and be a part of creating opportunities to partner and collaborate toward positive change.