NAT 2009230 ELDERS-1601536530740
Dr. Mugheer Al Khaili, DCD’s Chairman, with elders. Image Credit: Supplied.

Abu Dhabi: Upto 98 per cent of older residents in the UAE have seen their lives change during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Community Development (DCD) announced on Wednesday.

However, 92 per cent of older people who were surveyed in an emirate-wide DCD survey said they have confidence in the dedicated authorities that are regulating activities and implementing precautionary measures during the outbreak, Abu Dhabi’s social sector developer revealed. In a statement released ahead of the International Day of Older Persons, marked worldwide on October 2, the DCD stressed the importance of keeping older residents safe.

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Concern for the elderly

“The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated for everyone the great concern for the elderly group, their safety and physical and psychological health. According to the surveys conducted by the DCD, the lives of our elderly residents have changed during the pandemic, but 92 per cent of [those polled] said they have full confidence in the specialised authorities during the pandemic. [In addition,] 89.7 per cent of older residents are confident about the services provided in government health facilities,” said Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, chairman at the DCD. “We also found that 70 per cent of community members are keen to help elderly residents during the pandemic, teach them how to shop on the internet, and help them manage other daily needs,” Dr Al Khaili added.

The DCD and its associated institutions have also been focused on supporting and enabling older residents, providing services and consultations for them that contribute to raising the quality of their lives.

Developing a strategy

Dr Bushra Al-Mulla

Dr Bushra Al-Mulla, executive director of the DCD’s community development sector, said the DCD is also working on preparing the quality of family life strategy, which places special attention to senior residents. The technical team for the strategy has already held six group sessions focusing on seniors over the age of 60 year to learn about their challenges. It has also reviewed more 100 documents with 15 specialised authorities, identifying 17 social limitations that need to be addressed.

“The elderly are an important focus of our priorities, and we are working to study and analyse the current and future social challenges that affect the quality and stability of the family as a whole. Through the Senior Citizens Quality of Life strategy, an emphasis will be placed on the importance of activating the role of senior residents in society,” Al Mulla said.