• Bassam Radi, Managing Editor

Ministry of Community Development promotes senior Emiratis with prioritised care services

The Ministry of Community Development strengthens its efforts to achieve communication, interaction, support and care for senior Emiratis, in conjunction with its celebration of the "International Day of Older Persons 2020" coinciding on 1st October each year to provide them with proactive services and confirm the principles of prioritising them in all cases.

The world is celebrating "International Day for Older Persons 2020" under the theme "Pandemics: Do they change how we address age and ageing?" and emphasises how we protect older persons through pandemics and beyond. The United Nations put a set of objectives considering the higher risks confronted by older persons during the outbreak of pandemics such as COVID-19, policy and programmematic interventions must be targeted towards raising awareness of their special needs, recognising older persons contributions to their own health and the multiple roles they play in the communities in which they live, raising awareness and appreciation of the role of the health-care workforce in maintaining and improving the health of older persons, with special attention to the nursing profession, and increasing understanding of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on older people and on health-care policy and planning.

Hessa Essa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development, stated that the ministry's principle is based on gratitude, respect and protection of senior Emiratis to provide them with the utmost wellbeing requirements within the UAE community, ensure a wellbeing life for all members of the community during emergency situations and at various times in order to achieve the sustainable development agenda 2030 to reach the goals of the UAE Centennial 2071, reflecting the leadership's vision that the giving towards our seniors is unlimited and their expertise is unrestrained, we cannot achieve family cohesion and community coherence without a wellbeing life for them.

The Minister of Community Development elaborated that the ministry’s concern for senior Emiratis comes within its commitment to the strategic plans derived from the UAE wise leadership vision and future directives of the government aiming to promote community cohesion and community coherence within the Emirati society. The UAE gave great care and attention to senior Emiratis, as reflected in the national policy of senior Emiratis with 4 strategic objectives, 7 main themes and 26 innovative initiatives and projects that are being implemented sustainably.

"On International Day of Older Persons, we must all recall our national community duties towards senior Emiratis leading to more social efforts, development and empowerment, support the environment for elderly active life in the community, improve their wellbeing and ensure their active and continuous participation within the UAE community. The Ministry is also very keen to involve various family members and community groups in recognition of senior Emiratis who enjoy community privileges sand priorities based on our traditions, customs and values rooted in the UAE society," she continued.

Buhumaid referred to the capabilities building programme for senior Emiratis i.e. a training programme for senior Emiratis on using modern technology to facilitate their daily life whether through smart applications or electronic devices, in cooperation with the Digital Wellbeing Council as a key partner, in addition to various partnerships from relevant entities. The programme aims for creating a community segment that is technologically aware of digital knowledge that is necessary to keep pace with the modern lifestyle, and promote the supporting environment of senior Emiratis, form innovative channels to transfer knowledge and experiences, and upgrade automated quality services for senior Emiratis.

The Ministry of Community Development gives senior Emiratis priority in receiving social support and assistance while ensuring that more proactive services are provided for them. As such, during the past period about 3725 senior Emiratis benefited from the social security services. Additionally, about 63 volunteer and staff of social development centers all over the UAE made12,789 phone calls with senior Emiratis as part of "We are Your Family" remote initiative to communicate and interact with senior Emiratis and at the same time give them social support during their home quarantine due to COVID 19 pandemic, from the beginning of the year till end of August.

During the first quarter of this year, about 201 home visits were carried out for senior Emiratis to provide them with home care services through "We Connect with You" initiative. These healthcare services include: primary healthcare, physiotherapy, social programmes and services, rehabilitation programmes, facilities, vital signs such as blood pressure, blood sugar rate and temperature; these home visits are for senior Emiratis receiving social assistance either at their home or hospitals, in order to identify their needs and update their periodical data.

The number of "resident and non-resident" beneficiaries from the services of the senior Emiratis Happiness Centre in Ajman reached more than 500 people by the mid of this current year 2020; being a primary care centre including administrative, technical and specialised nursing staff to provide tailored comprehensive services according to the needs of senior Emiratis such as medical examinations, physiotherapy and rehabilitation in cooperation with hospitals, government and private clinics, and universities with medical specialties, in addition to recreational and educational services that are compatible with local and international events.

The number of volunteering senior Emiratis who registered in the national platform "Volunteers.ae" has reached more than 2,056 volunteers, of which: 229 volunteers joined the platform during the first half of this year. Additionally, senior Emiraits make about 10.4% of all productive families registered at the Ministry of Community Development.

Throughout the year, many summer, winter as well as social development activities are organised in social development centers all over the UAE targeting all members of the community while focusing on the involvement of senior Emiratis in reflection of the national policy of senior Emiratis.

The Ministry of Community Development, in collaboration with the Federal Youth Foundation, launched the "Guide to Caring of Senior Emiratis during pandemics" with the aim of raising awareness of the role of young people on how to take care of elderly people. The guide provides an integrated set of guidelines that promote the opportunities for young people to participate in the daily lives of senior Emiratis, thereby strengthening family relationships and ties and raising awareness of their responsibility towards senior Emiratis and creating a supportive and cohesive environment that has a positive impact on different generations.

The guide provides a set of key guidelines for how to provide care services for senior Emiratis during the spread of pandemics, precautionary measures to prevent them from being infected with diseases especially since some senior Emiratis suffer from chronic diseases or lack of immunity; any diseases can negatively affect their health, and the role of young people lies in increasing the care of these categories during this pandemic and taking more preventive measures to protect them. The awareness guidelines within the guide provided for the youth were divided into five groups: environment, tools, information, interaction and precautionary measures.


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