With 2020 marking the 75th anniversary of the United Nations (UN) and the 30th International Day of Older Persons, policies and programme must be introduced to raise awareness on the special needs of elderly people considering the higher risks faced by the older demographic during the outbreak of pandemics such as COVID-19.
The International Day of Older Persons was observed on October 1.
On December 14, 1990, the UN General Assembly voted to establish October 1 as the International Day of Older Persons as recorded in Resolution 45/106. The day was observed for the first time on October 1, 1991.
Even as the UN calls for recognising older persons’ contributions to their own health and the multiple roles they play in the preparedness and response phases of current and future pandemics is important, senior citizens in Oman say they are thankful that they are in good hands.
According to the UN, the 20th edition of the day will also promote the Decade of Healthy Ageing (2020-2030) and bring together UN experts, civil society, government and health professionals to discuss the five objectives of the Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing and Health while noting the progress and challenges in their realisation.
As far as the care senior citizens get in Oman, the government has left no stone unturned to make sure they are well taken care of.
“Age is just a number. I may be 75 years old but by the grace of Allah, I am able to do many things on my own. The good care we receive from the government and the healthcare is amazing. We get all the necessary monthly check-ups we require and the service is great. That is why I am well and active,” said Shamsa Hamad, 75.
As stated by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of World Health Organization, “By implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, countries can ensure that every human being regardless of age will have an opportunity to fulfill their potential in dignity and equality.”
Majid al Suleimany, 72, said, “One thing I have been able to do now with time is to enjoy Allah’s gifts to mankind – the water, the milk, the fruits and juices of different tastes, the various vegetables, etc. To see and play with our grandchildren – they are great blessings to us!
“My brother-in-law Bader tells me, ‘Majid, if you can wake up in the morning, walk to and help yourself in the toilet, take a bath on your own, and can dress yourself on your own, have breakfast and meals on your own without being assisted, then say thanks to Allah, because there are many at our age in the 70s and even younger who cannot do these things on their own. They have to be assisted. Some are comatose, helpless in bed. Some have lost their vision and senses. Or just helpless in solitude’.”
As time goes on, one becomes immune to all the bad news around.
“There is COVID-19, wars and fights all around us, but you put this all away from you whilst you enjoy like a child reborn the old comedies, cartoons and shows! There are lots and lots of things to be happy for!” Suleimany said.