About Older Persons Day

28 September 2023

October 1 is the International Day of Older Persons, proclaimed by the United Nations in 1995. The day was first celebrated in Europe, then in the United States, and in the late 1990s, all over the world.

A person who has reached the age of 65 is considered an elderly person. It is predicted that by 2050 the number of such people in many developed countries will double, and the total number in the world will reach 2 billion people.

How is this day celebrated? Why is it worth remembering the Fifth Commandment? How do pensioners live in Ukraine? That is what this article is about. And last but not least, there are touching stories of missionaries serving the elderly in the Ukrainian countryside.

Celebrations around the world

In Scandinavian countries, for example, Older Persons Day is celebrated by broadcasting programs specifically for the elderly.

In developed countries, mass events are held: festivals, concerts, theatrical performances and charity exhibitions, recreational evenings, tea parties, dances, excursions and conferences to protect the rights of the elderly.

Children are encouraged to show respect to an elderly person in one way or another. Small business owners offer discounts on their goods and services to older people.

They do something special for the elderly who are now helpless.

The Commandment of God

The fifth of God’s Ten Commandments insists: “Honor your father and your mother,that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).

The length of a person’s life is directly proportional to his attitude toward his father and mother, i.e., the older generation. It is worth remembering that disrespect for the elderly will cause problems for the younger generation in the future.

Ukrainian pensioners

According to the Ukrainian Institute of Social Research (before the war in 2022), the main problems of pensioners were financial hardship, unaffordable medicines, low state payments, lack of gradation in pensions, paid health care, high utility bills, food costs, and depreciation of their savings.

When asked how they could solve these problems, the elderly replied that they could not, they did not have the means, they tried to save on everything, and they treated themselves.

Some survive by paying off debts, some sell things at flea markets, some are helped by children or neighbors, some do not use electricity.

As a source of income, the retired mentioned their household plots, which provide them with food, as well as the sale of gardening and vegetable gardens.

90% of the elderly described their financial situation as catastrophic.
Respondents complained of being disrespected because of their age, including in family relationships.

How can we honor our elders?

Be polite and tactful with the elderly.
The easiest way to show care and consideration is to give up your seat on public transportation.
Help those in need.

Stories from missionaries about the elderly during wartime.


“Darling, I’ll be back soon, they’re giving away free glasses here, I’m going to get some because mine are no good anymore,” said a man of about 70 to his seriously ill wife, who was bedridden and responded weakly to his words with her eyes.

Exhausted by his own misfortune, but hoping for help, he went to an eye clinic in a church in Nova Odesa (Mykolaiv region).

He took off his cracked glasses, and handed them to the organizers, asking for a replacement. They asked to wait, but he was embarrassed and said he couldn’t because of his helpless wife.

“We were touched by his sad eyes and wanted to help him,” said the missionary.

After receiving a new pair of glasses from the doctor, the man was very grateful and was in a hurry to leave when he was handed hygiene products for his wife.

Moved to tears, the man thanked God for the care, cheered up a bit, and went back to win his own battle.


Yasna Polyana. A village not on the map in the Mykolaiv region. All of its houses are lined up on one street. 20 years ago, not even 200 people lived there…

The distance from the city, the old age of the population and the corresponding state of health, and the war have caused great hardship to the inhabitants, who lack the most basic necessity – food. They do not live, they have to survive.

With food packages, the missionaries reach such villages. This time they visited an old lady who was touched and confessed: “God sent you because I was thinking about how to live. I have nothing to eat and no money, I sit and cry…”.

Barely holding back tears, the team thanked God for the opportunity to be a comfort to these people and bring hope to the Ukrainian countryside.


“Our gentle and loving mother and grandmother. This is how our sister Valia was so lovingly called in our church,” – a missionary and pastor from the Mykolaiv region, who remembers her from the 90’s, recalls.

“Valia was a kind woman with a difficult destiny. She is the mother of four children, three of whom are troubled, the grandmother of a granddaughter who is addicted to drugs, and the great-grandmother who raised her great-granddaughter.

Her heart cried out to God in prayer for her family more than once… She died and her family did not turn to God.

2022. War. Many difficulties. More people began to come to the church in Nova Odesa. Among them was Maya, Valia’s daughter.

She gratefully accepted the help and later began to share about the changes in her life and how God was touching her heart and making her feel light.

“Mama’s prayer is not in vain. Fourteen years have passed since the death of granny Valia, and the seed of the Word has been sown: her daughter has turned to God. We see her eyes shining with happiness,” said the missionary, rejoicing in God’s faithfulness.


“Grandma Olya, may I come in? Good afternoon!”, – the missionary from Nova Odesa entered a familiar house and called to the landlady.

The old woman was lying on the sofa, groaning with weakness: “I can hardly stand on my feet, children, but I am very happy to see you. I’m sorry I can’t give you some tea.”

For three years, the missionaries visited, helped, and talked with the lonely grandmother, Olya. She heard about Christ many times and read the newspaper with testimonies all the time. She was grateful for everything, but she did not turn to God.

“We offered to pray with her and for the first time she agreed. The Lord touched her heart, she repented before Him and wept. And we rejoiced that another soul was saved,” said the missionary.

The material was prepared by the CITA Mission Press Center.

Thank you

We will definitely contact you.


Ми з Вами обов'язково зв'яжемся


Мы с Вами обязательно свяжемся