Save the elderly from dementia; Law against elderly abuse soon

MUSCAT, FEB 29 – Old age is a phase in life when elderly people become demanding. They need to be loved and cared, helped to cope with the challenges of old age, said Dr Saleha al Jadidi, Consultant-Psychiatry and Geriatrics.
Six per cent of Oman’s population is elderly and out of them, just like among any community around the world, five per cent may suffer from dementia while others have one or more of non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes.
This five per cent dementia among the elderly is doubling every five years which may be worsened by family history. By 2050, any aged person above 60 years is at risk of dementia.
“Every living creature has to pass through old age. Keeping this in mind people who live around old people should work as support system in terms of supporting them cope with their physical as well as mental issues… Attend to them, listen to them, make them happy in every possible way and handle them accordingly,” said Dr Saleha who works at the Al Masarrah Hospital and founder of SJMC, mind & body clinic.
She is also the founder of Community Mental Health Programme as well as Dementia Prevention Programme and Geriatrics and Dementia Services at the various sectors of the Ministry of Health.
She also cited the cases of elderly abuse which is widely reported from across the world and they include mental, physical or financial abuse, the outcome of which is often fatal.
“Oman has one of the lowest numbers of elderly abuse and they too are minor which are corrected from time to time in coordination with the Ministry of Social Development (MoSD) and the like ensuring better passage for the elderly.
In June 2019, Ihasan Association, MoH, SQUH and MoSD conducted the first Elderly Abuse Symposium which discussed the public concern over the topic and analysed those factors that lead to elderly abuse and worked to find solutions to the issues.
The conference submitted its findings and recommendations to the Ministry of Social Development and top of them was a law against elderly abuse, which the ministry is actively considering.
“Our recommendations from the symposium were well-received by the ministry and we were assured that a law against abuse on elderly is under active consideration and will be introduced soon,” Dr Saleha.
She further said that the SJMC in collaboration with Oman Medical Association, MoH represented by the Directorate of Mental Health will be organising the first Geriatric and Genotrology Conference on March 12, 2020
“A lot of valuable discussions are expected to take place on the care of the old age group and their importance in our lives. Similarly, the care and attention required by the elderly with dementia and the like will also be in focus”, Dr Saleha added.