Growing Ageing Population - 60+ Years


Notifications of events organized throughout the year by the NGO Committee on Ageing will be sent out by email. Watch this space for updates on upcoming events. 



Lifelong Learning and Earning

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Women’s UN Report Network

"Unacceptable"-UN Expert Urges Better Protection of Older Persons Facing the Highest Risk of the COVID-10 Pandemic

GENEVA (27 March 2020) – Society has a duty to exercise solidarity and better protect older persons who are bearing the lion's share of the COVID-19 pandemic, a UN human rights expert said. "Reports of abandoned older persons in care homes or of dead corpses found in nursing homes are alarming. This is unacceptable," said Rosa Kornfeld-Matte, UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons. "We all have the obligation to exercise solidarity and protect older persons from such harm."

Older persons do not only face a disproportionate risk of death but they are further threatened by COVID-19 due to their care support needs or by living in high-risk environments such as institutions, the expert said.

Kornfeld-Matte expressed particular concerns about older persons with underlying health conditions and those who are already socially excluded, living in poverty, having limited access to health services, or living in confined spaces such as prisons and residential care homes.

"This social exclusion is exacerbated by 'social' distancing measures, such as denying visitors to residential care homes. Social distancing must not become social exclusion," the expert said. "Physical distance is crucial but creative and safe ways must be found to increase social connections. Older persons must be provided with ways to stay in touch online, including those in residential care homes and remote areas," she urged.

The Independent Expert noted that older persons are already facing particular old age discrimination ("ageism") and therefore require specific rights protection. She stressed the urgent need for a holistic human rights approach for older persons that ensures equal realization of all their rights, including access to health care.

"I am deeply concerned that decisions around the allocation of scarce medical resources such as ventilators in intensive care units may be made solely on the basis of age, denying older persons their right to health and life on an equal basis with others.

"Triage protocols must be developed and followed to ensure such decisions are made on the basis of medical needs, the best scientific evidence available and not on non-medical criteria such as age or disability.

"Older persons have become highly visible in the COVID 19 outbreak but their voices, opinions and concerns have not been heard. Instead, the deep-rooted ageism in our societies has become even more apparent. We have seen this in some cruel and dehumanizing language on social media and in the exclusive emphasis on older persons' vulnerability ignoring their autonomy," Kornfeld-Matte said. She finally called on all stakeholders to ensure that essential support services at home in the communities can continue without putting older persons and their care providers at risk. "Communities and generations must come together to get through this crisis in solidarity," the UN expert concluded. 

Ms Rosa Kornfeld-Matte (Chile) was appointed by Human Rights Council as the first Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons in May 2014. Ms Kornfeld-Matte served as the National Director of the Chilean National Service of Ageing, where she designed and implemented the National Policy of Ageing. She has a long career as an academic and is the founder of the programme for older persons at the Pontificia Unversidad Católica de Chile.

Click the here to view a list of endorsees to this letter.

Message from the NGO Committee on Ageing/NY Chair, Cynthia Stuen about COVID-19

Dear NGO Committee on Ageing/NY,

I hope this finds you well and taking good care of yourself.  Those of us who are older persons need to be especially careful and cautious.  I commend you to  follow guidelines from the Center for Disease Control ( and the World Health Organization ( dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.  While we are all disappointed that major UN meetings have been cancelled, it is in the best interest of everyone to contain the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and limit our face to face contact.   Below is also new  information on Medicare beneficiaries now having telehealth benefits during the COVID-19 outbreak.  Do call your health provider if you are having any symptoms. 

Forthcoming events:  

  1. It has just been announced that the 11th session of the Open Ended Working Group on Ageing will not be convening at all in April and will be held at a later date to be announced in due course by the United Nations.  All side events have also been cancelled, but I want to invite everyone to attend a  webinar on Tuesday April 7 from 1:15-2:30pm  on “Lifelong Learning and Earning”.  See attached flier for online registration here.  It is been organized by Pass It On Network, sponsored by the Mission of Argentina,  IAGG, IFA, The Global Ageing Network, and NGO CoA/NY.   Do Join US! 
  2. Thursday, 7 May  will be our next monthly program meeting on Brain Health and resources for persons with cognitive impairment.  Stay tuned for more information.  It will most likely be remotely held and not in-person.  

Take care,
Cynthia Stuen
Chair, NGO Committee on Ageing/NY


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COVID-19: President Trump Expands Telehealth Benefits for Medicare Beneficiaries During COVID-19 Outbreak

The Trump Administration announced expanded Medicare telehealth coverage that will enable beneficiaries to receive a wider range of healthcare services from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility. Beginning on March 6, 2020, Medicare—administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)—will temporarily pay clinicians to provide telehealth services for beneficiaries residing across the entire country.

To read the Fact Sheet on this announcement visit:

To read the Frequently Asked Questions on this announcement visit:

Recent documents of interest to us

A/74/186, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, on older persons with disabilities. Here

Facts about older women prepared for UNECE Beijing plus 25 review, Geneva October 2019, Section 1: overview: achievements and challenges since 1995. Here

E/CN.5/2020/3, Report of the Secretary-General on affordable housing and social protection systems for all to address homelessness.  Here

Report of Expert Group Meeting on “Affordable Housing and Social Protection Systems for All to Address Homelessness”.  Here

World Population Ageing 2019, Ten Key Messages.  Here.  Please note that the World Population Ageing 2019 report refers to older persons as 65 and above. Here

A/74/170:  Report of the Secretary-General on Follow-up to the International Year of Older Persons:  Second World Assembly on Ageing. Here

A/AC.278/2019/2:  Report of the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing on its tenth working session.  Here

A/HRC/41/32:  Report of the OHCHR on activities of the OHCHR, United Nations system and regional organizations to support States’ efforts to promote and protect the human rights of older persons.  Here


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