The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) marked World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) which is celebrated on the 15th of June globally.
The initiative took place at Nad Al Hammar primary health centre to educate visitors and patients about abuse, neglect and exploitation that elders may face.
Dr Amal Al Jazeri, geriatrician and head of elderly care at the primary health sector, said, “Although the incidence of elderly abuse is less in our society, it is important for people to be aware of this serious issue. After the recent incidence of an 80 year old Emirati man being abused by his caregiver, there has been an increase in awareness among society members. However, our aim is to educate them that abuse need not be physical, it can also be emotional, financial exploitation or even neglect. Through this initiative our aim is raise awareness among the public, healthcare providers and the elderly so that they can be aware of this serious issue, become more vigilant and understand available methods of reporting.”
She said, “Presently there are 11,400 elders above the age of 65 in Dubai.” “This number will rise because life-expectancy has increased and therefore in years to come we can have more elders who are dependent on caregivers, thus there is a need to raise awareness about this issue,” she added.
She said, “Elderly care is given top priority at the DHA and that outpatient services are available for the elderly across all DHA primary healthcare centres and hospitals. Geriatricians carry out home-care visits and the primary healthcare centres have dedicated clinics such as geriatric clinics, osteoporosis clinics, fall clinics, dementia and other such clinics specifically tailored for the elder population. Moreover, the DHA is planning on providing dedicated recreational areas in parks for the elderly in cooperation with Dubai municipality. The initiative provides elderly population to interact with their friends in a pleasant and safe environment as DHA nurses and geriatricians will be present to take care of them.”
In addition to this, DHA plans to expand its mobile home-care program, presently 263 patients are registered for DHA’s elderly home care program and the Authority is keen on ensuring all areas of Dubai has access to elderly home-care services.