Over the next 50 years, the number of older persons in the world will grow from about 600 million to almost 2 billion. Today, one person in ten is aged 60 or over - by 2050, this will be one person in five, and by 2150, one in three. Such a major demographic change presents huge challenges.
The International Day of Older Persons aims to raise awareness of the impact of an ageing population and the need to ensure that people can grow old with dignity and continue to participate in society as citizens with full rights.
Older people make major contributions to society, through volunteer work, transmitting experience and knowledge, helping their families with caring responsibilities and participating in the paid labour force. Throughout Africa and elsewhere millions of adult AIDS patients are cared for at home by their parents and orphaned children left behind by AIDS victims (currently 14 million under the age of 15 in African countries alone) are mainly looked after by their grandparents.
Further information can be found on the International Day of Older Persons web pages, and the World Health Organization website. This video slideshow explores some of the challenges of an ageing population, and this clip from BBC News explores 'how an ageing population will change the world'.
The charity HelpAge has produced this 'infographic' of the Global Age Watch index 2015, which shows the best and worst places to grow old: www.helpage.org/global-agewatch/population-ageing-data/infographic-index-at-a-glance/