|The population of older persons is increasing at a very rapid rate all over
in the world. It was about 200 million in 1950, rose to 606 million in the
year 2000 and is projected to reach 1.2 and 2 .0 billions in 2025 and
2050 respectively. In Africa, the population of older persons, 60 years
and above is currently estimated to be 42 millions and is projected to
reach between 205 and 212 millions by the year 2050. The majority of
these older persons in Africa are women living in the rural areas,
differences in gender increases with age.
This unprecedented rise in the number of older persons presents a major
challenge to the sustenance of their well being in the society. This is
particularly in light of the apparently unfavourable environments which
is characterized by increased social conflicts, globalization, socioeconomic
difficulties, deterioration of cultural values and morals,
perennial man-induced and natural disasters and lately the HN/AIDS
In 1982, the United Nations through its resolution 37/51 convened the
first ever World Assembly on Aging in Vienna Austria to address issues
pertaining to older persons and their implications on national
development. This was later critically reviewed and reformulated
through the International Plan of Action on Ageing agreed upon during
the Second World Assembly on Aging in April 2002 in Madrid, Spain.
The African Union also formulated and adopted its Policy Framework
and Plan of Action on Aging in July 2002 focussing on older persoris on
the continent. Kenya is a member of the United Nations and African
Union is signatory to these declarations.
In the Kenyan situation, the number of older persons; 60 years and
above has risen dramatically, from the modest number of 270,00 during
the first National Population Census Report in 1949 to I .4 million
during the 1999 National Population and Housing Census. This is
against the background of the total population rise from 5 .4 million in
1949 to 28.7 million in 1999. The population projections for the years
2010 and 2020 indicate a modest rise of the total population to 36.5 and
43.1 millions respectively with that of older persons rising from 1.5 to
2.2 millions respectively.