Ageing and life-course

International Day of Older Persons 2019

1 October 2019 – The Journey to Age Equality and Universal Health Coverage

The UN International Day of Older Persons is an opportunity to highlight the important contributions that older people make to society and raise awareness of the opportunities and challenges of ageing in today’s world. The theme for 2019 was "The Journey to Age Equality".

The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognize that development will only be achievable if it is inclusive of all ages. It pledges that no one will be left behind and that every human being will have the opportunity to fulfil their potential in dignity and equality. Populations around the world are rapidly ageing and this demographic transition has an impact on almost all aspects of society.

The right to health applies to all, regardless of age, ability, gender, geographical location, socio-economic status without discrimination of any kind. But many health systems around the world struggle to respond to the complex and diverse health needs of older people.

Universal health coverage (UHC) for all, at all ages, is the foundation for achieving the health objectives of the SDGs. To enable UHC to respond to the needs of older people, WHO has produced a package of evidence-based tools which supports the implementation of the Integrated Care for Older People (ICOPE) approach. This innovative package of tools was launched on 1 October 2019, the International Day of Older Persons, with a celebratory launch event at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The event brought together a broad range of stakeholders including the WHO’s Director-General, high level representatives from countries, United Nations Agencies, civil society, older people and WHO’s staff. Partners in the WHO regions and countries around the world also commemorated the day by organizing parallel events.


WHO launches digital app to improve care for older people

WHO Director-General on launch of Integrated Care for Older People (ICOPE) package of tools

Launch event of the WHO ICOPE package of tools, 1 October 2019