Older age people and persons with disabilities make up a significant and growing proportion of the world's population, and a high proportion of both groups live in developing countries. For example, the accepted global estimate of persons with disabilities is one billion people, of whom one in five live in developing countries. By 2050, the number of people aged 60 and over will almost triple, reaching 2 billion (22 per cent of the world's population). Ageing is associated with a higher probability of living with a disability. The World Report on Disability estimates that more than 46 per cent of the world's population aged over 60 lives with a disability.
There is much overlap between the issues faced by older people and persons with disabilities. As people age they often find they become restricted in a number of areas: for example loss of mobility, or loss of sight or hearing. Both persons with disabilities and older people face barriers in accessing services such as employment and health services, including access to assistive devices. Both groups are also disproportionately susceptible to poverty and at risk of violence and abuse. Older persons with disabilities can experience dual discrimination on the grounds of age and disability.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) protects the rights of all persons with disabilities including older persons with disabilities. The UN also has a working group on ageing for the purpose of strengthening protection of the human rights of older people.
The intersection between disability and ageing has been an area of discussion for many years. Building on this literature, there is a small but growing body of resources at policy and practice level that address the intersection of ageing and disability in a range of contexts (e.g. humanitarian).
See also: Assistive Devices, Health, Livelihoods, Humanitarian and Disaster Risk Reduction, Data collection to inform design and measurement.