JULY 30, 1998
||STATE AND AREA AGENCIES ADMINISTERING PLANS
UNDER TITLE III AND TRIBAL ORGANIZATIONS ADMINISTERING PLANS
UNDER TITLE V OF THE OLDER AMERICANS ACT OF 1965, AS AMENDED
SUBJECT : International Year of Older Persons
LEGAL AND RELATED : none
The purpose of this memorandum is to draw attention
to the International Year of Older Persons 1999, and to encourage
its observance by state and area agencies on aging and tribal
organizations. This year-long observance offers us all a unique
opportunity for bringing attention to the contributions and needs
of older persons and for engaging a wide range of community organizations
in preparing America for longevity.
The United Nations (UN) General Assembly designated
1999 as the International Year of Older Persons ("IYOP").
The IYOP will officially be launched on October 1, 1998 as October
1 is designated by the UN, and observed world-wide, as International
Day of Older Persons. While observed as an international year,
the UN expects member states, non-governmental organizations,
and intergovernmental organizations to honor the IYOP as they
choose within their own countries.
The theme for the Year, "Towards a Society
for All Ages", was chosen to promote the philosophy that
societies should be inclusive in nature; should embrace all population
groups; and share their resources equally. In designating 1999
as the IYOP, the UN cited one of the greatest achievements of
this century as the increase of the average life span by 20 years.
It will take all ages working together to assure the health and
well being of society as a whole.
Federal Initiatives for IYOP
In March 1997, at a presentation at an Ad Hoc Working
Group of the UN Commission for Social Development, AoA accepted
the role of focal point within the federal government for initiatives
related to the IYOP. AoAs major effort for the IYOP will
concentrate on preparing the federal government for the aging
of society. A number of initiatives are underway at the federal
level. They include:
Last Fall, AoA created a Federal Committee
to Prepare for the IYOP. Over thirty federal agencies, commissions,
and departments currently serve on the committee. They pledged
to use the IYOP to work towards concrete federal program
and policy outcomes. We have been gratified by the very
enthusiastic response from all the agencies working on the
In my opening remarks at the December 12,
1997 meeting of the committee, we articulated the vision
that the IYOP should play a significant role in spurring
Americans toward longevity preparedness, as longevity is
sure to affect every aspect of American life in the next
century. The committee was charged to use the opportunity
provided by the IYOP to highlight and showcase what our
federal government is doing for older people and to design
a winning architecture for an aging society.
Our goal is to assure that federal efforts
focus substantively on preparing for the future. At the
end of 1999, we want to have moved the aging agenda forward
and prepared our country for longevity. A long-term strategy
is to have a standing committee which would work together
into the 21st century to generate and sustain
essential federal efforts.
Planned committee initiatives currently
A. A federal-wide conference to be held
June 1 and 2 in Washington, focusing on the role of the federal
in aging programs. Conference goals include:
1. An exchange of information on key aging issues
and identification of aging policy and
program opportunities among federal agencies;
2. A commitment across agencies to foster on-going
interagency collaboration on aging-related issues and greater
public awareness of federal efforts on behalf of the aging;
3. Establishment of a continuing committee.
B. A publication that includes recommendations from
the conference and a user-friendly "Best Practices Guide"
to existing federal programs for older people.
C. A number of media events, including a kick off
for the opening of the IYOP in October 1998.
D. Publication of a pamphlet describing the IYOP,
including resources and program ideas. The pamphlet, currently
under development, will be distributed to the aging network and
to all federal agencies for distribution among their own constituencies.
E. The establishment of an international page as
part of the AoA website (Attachment I). This page includes, among
other items, information and resources about the IYOP.
F. A Presidential Proclamation. The AoA hopes to
have a Presidential Proclamation signed for the opening of the
IYOP in October 1998. Governors and Mayors will be encouraged
to sign similar proclamations for their states and cities and
a copy of the Presidential Proclamation will be sent to all states.
A media event will be planned around the Presidential Proclamation
to include the Federal Committee, described below, and international
We are coordinating our efforts very closely with
the U.S. Committee to Celebrate the International Year of Older
Persons (Attachment I). The Committee is an umbrella organization
comprised of a growing number of professionals from the local,
state, national and international gerontology communities and
The Committee hopes to stimulate organizations throughout
the nation to develop projects and build networks to publicize
and celebrate the IYOP. The mission of the Committee encourages
planning of intergenerational projects, seminars, discussion groups,
and ethnic and cultural heritage programs in educational systems,
religious organizations, and corporations in both the public and
the private sector. The Committee will help groups across the
country with programmatic ideas. We will make sure that they know
about the federal initiative and will share information with them
that may help states and communities address the theme of the
IYOP "towards a society for all ages.
Ideas for Observing the IYOP
The AoA encourages state and area agencies on aging and tribal
organizations to begin planning for the IYOP in their own communities.
Ideas for observing the IYOP are limitless and each community
will observe in its own way (Attachment I). Some principles to
keep in mind are:
A. Initiatives should be purposeful. Think of where
you would like to go in planning for the aging population in your
communities in the next century and how the IYOP could assist
you in getting there;
B. Incorporate the goals and theme for the IYOP
into existing efforts;
C. Use the opportunity to plan for the future -
not just for the IYOP. Think in terms of action plans;
D. Use the IYOP to prepare the Baby Boomers for
E. Think of how you can include "non-traditional
players." Look for cooperation of the formal and informal
sectors, including the business sector, schools and colleges,
and the media;
F. Be inclusive in developing your plans. Think
intergenerationally. Aging is a process affecting daily living,
requiring responses by individuals, families, and neighborhoods;
G. Think how the objectives in Title I of the Older
Americans Act can be furthered through the IYOP (Attachment II
It is not too early to begin planning for the IYOP.
As you develop initiatives for the year, we would be most interested
in hearing from you, so that we might share information about
your endeavors with others. Questions or inquiries should be addressed
to Marla Bush at Tel: (202) 619-3996; Fax: (202) 619-7586;
Jeanette C. Takamura
Assistant Secretary for Aging
Marla Bush International Coordinator
Administration on Aging
US Department of Health and Human Services
330 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20201
The Administration on Aging (AoA) is the federal
focal point and advocacy agency for older persons. Contact AoA
for general information about the IYOP and to report your activities
for the IYOP. These will be publicized on the AoAwebsite and in
Suzanne Oliver US Committee to Celebrate
the International Year of Older Persons.
The US Committee for the Celebration of the UN International
Year of Older Persons was formed by gerontology professionals
and major aging organizations to encourage and coordinate national
interest in observing the year. Contact the Committee to become
a member, to obtain further information, or to receive a copy
of the Committees newsletter.
Elizabeth Mullen, Director International
American Association of Retired Persons
601 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20049 USA
Tel: (202) 434-2402
AARP publishes Coalition 99, a newsletter
containing information about activities planned worldwide to observe
the IYOP. Contact AARP to be placed on mailing list/submit your
plans for the IYOP to the Coalition 99 newsletter.
J. David Roberts Illinois Department on
421 East Capitol #100
Springfield, IL 62701-17890
Tel: (217) 785-2870
Fax: (217) 785-4477
The Illinois Department on Aging is actively preparing
for the IYOP and will share its plans and ideas developed for
1998 and 1999 activities, programs, education information, and
events planned for its observance. It has created a resource kit
for the use of State Units on Aging.
AoA International Year of Older Persons at http://www.aoa.dhhs.gov/international.
UN International Year of Older Persons at http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/iyop.htm.
Directions for obtaining the UN logo design at http://www.un.org/ecosocdev/geninfo/ageing/iyoplogo.htm
§ 3001 of the Older Americans Act. Congressional
declaration of objectives.
The Congress hereby finds and declares that, in
keeping with the traditional American concept of the inherent
dignity of the individual in our democratic society, the older
people of our Nation are entitled to, and it is the joint and
several duty and responsibility of the governments of the United
States, of the several States and their political subdivisions,
and of Indian tribes to assist our older people to secure equal
opportunity to the full and free enjoyment of the following objectives:
(1) An adequate income in retirement in accordance
with the American standard of living.
(2) The best possible physical and mental health
which science can make available and without regard to economic
(3) Obtaining and maintaining suitable housing,
independently selected, designed and locatedwith reference
to special needs and available at costs which older citizens
(4) Full restoration services for those who
require institutional care, and a comprehensive array of community-based,
long-term care services adequate to appropriately sustain
older people in their communities and in their homes, including
support to family members and other persons providing voluntary
care to older individuals needing long-term care services.
(5) Opportunity for employment with no discriminatory
personnel practices because of age.
(6) Retirement in health, honor, dignity - after
years of contribution to the economy.
(7) Participating in and contributing to meaningful
activity within the widest range of civic, cultural, education
and training and recreational opportunities.
(8) Efficient community services, including
access to low-cost transportation, which provide a choice
in supported living arrangements and social assistance in
a coordinated manner and which are readily available when
needed, with emphasis on maintaining a continuum of care for
vulnerable older individuals.
(9) Immediate benefit from proven research knowledge
which can sustain and improve healthand happiness.
(10)Freedom, independence, and the free exercise of individual
initiative in planning andmanaging their own lives, full participation
in the planning and operation of community-based services
and programs provided for their benefit, and protection againstabuse,
neglect, and exploitation.
Ideas for Observing the IYOP:
A. Establish state and local committees
to develop initiatives for observing the IYOP;
the federal model of a committee in your own community;
C. Intergenerational Activities:
1. Highlight activities which show grandparents
and foster grandmothers raising grandchildren;
2. Link young "Pen Pals" with older
persons in the community;
3. Sponsor story writing contests for school-age
children to write about older persons;
4. Encourage older persons to visit classrooms
or assembly programs in schools to share what being "older"
is really like to dispel some stereotypes and myths;
D. Public Relations
and Media Events:
1. Have your governor/mayor proclaim
1999 as the IYOP in your state or city as a "kick off"
2. Use the UN logo on your written materials;
3. Disseminate information on the IYOP to local
organizations, both traditional and no-traditional;
4. Place monthly feature stories in local newspapers
concerning older people;
5. Hold a giant birthday party for different
age groups (60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 100s);
6. Put on an opening event for the IYOP on October
1 (the UN International day of Older Persons) - perhaps a
"Community "Stroll" with groups originating
in many parts of the city and converging in the downtown area
along prescribed route ending in the city square or a candlelight
1. Put on concerts/plays dedicated to older
persons theme. Have specially priced tickets for seniors.
Feature older performers;
2. Hold art contests featuring older artists;
3. Arrange for special displays to commemorate
the IYOP (perhaps intergenerational) at the local museum;
F. Sister City Activities:
1. Establish links with sister cities in other
countries; share videos of seniors lives;
2. Exchange trips between seniors in different
communities (perhaps involve Evergreen or Elder hostel);
3. Invite older persons groups from nearby communities
in Canada and Mexico for an exchange day with local programs
such as Senior Centers;
G. Sports Events:
1. Host local senior games;
2. Organize intergenerational games - or games
with seniors helping children; and
3. Encourage a "Tribute to Seniors"
night at local sports events.
Additional list of activities are provided by the
United Nations and are found at http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/iyop/iyopla.htm
. Call Marla Bush at AoA for a hard copy of "Local Agenda
on Ageing in the 1990s - Question of Ageing." in English,
French or Spanish.