Appreciating the contributions that older persons make to society, the United Nations General Assembly has declared 1999 as the International Year of Older Persons (IYOP). Through the theme "Toward a Society for All Ages" IYOP will foster an international awareness of the importance of seniors' role in society and the need for intergenerational respect and support.
The United Nations Principles for Older Adults identify 5 key areas of concern for the older adult population. The International Year of Older Persons' primary objective is to promote these principles, which are aimed at enhancing older persons':
Independence: opportunities for work, education or training, and the support required to live at home for as long as possible.
Participation: an active role in decision-making and communicating within the family, the community and society.
Care: access to health care based on need, and social, legal and other services that enhance personal security, and safe, humane and caring environment for older persons living in a residence, or care or treatment facility.
Self - fulfilment: personal development opportunities, with access to education, cultural, spiritual and recreation resources.
Dignity: full human rights, including respect for older person's dignity, beliefs, privacy and security.