The contribution of the elderly has been recognised by the United Nations' International Day of Older Persons.

A charity called Help Age International has launched the first-ever global ageing index, ranking countries in order of how well they treat their elderly citizens.

Of the 91 countries ranked, covering 89% of the world's older people, Sweden comes out on top, while Afghanistan is at the bottom.

Ireland is in 12th place in the rankings, one above the UK in 13th.

When it comes to people over 50 feeling they live in a supportive environment, Ireland ranks extremely highly, coming in third globally.

Ireland's lowest score is in the employment and education domain, at 32nd.

The researchers found it was not necessarily the case that the richer the country, the better it treats its elderly.

Mauritius, Bolivia and Sri Lanka all ranked above other, richer nations.