Last update: 19-Dec-2013 12:42 am
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Karim: Expect rise in elderly abuse
Tertiary Education Minister Fazal Karim says there is expected to be an increase in elderly abuse as many countries are experiencing rapidly ageing populations. Karim, delivering the feature address at the launch of the Davis School of Geriatric Nursing in Sangre Grande yesterday, urged potential caregivers to acquire the basic principles, knowledge, skills and attitudes required for geriatric care, since the ‘grey army’ was increasing.
The school is the first to be opened in the north eastern region. He explained that Latin American and Caribbean countries have been facing old and new challenges in the field of health policy.
“The latter relates to changes in demand that require new services and treatments, while the former have to do with the region’s shortcomings in terms of equal access to timely and quality health services, lack of human and financial resources and problems of articulation between the various levels of the healthcare system and the public and private sectors.” Data from the United Nations proportion of older persons in the world, Karim said, has grown from eight per cent in 1950 to 12 per cent in 2010.
This figure, Karim said, was expected to reach 22 per cent by 2050. Ten per cent of T&T’s population are over the age of 60 years, Karim said. While the elderly are subjected to ill treatment, Karim said a 1999 survey which was commissioned by the Ministry of Social Development highlighted loneliness was a major cause for concern. He also cited abuse as an ongoing problem worldwide.
“Around four to six per cent of elderly people have experienced some form of maltreatment at home. Elder maltreatment can lead to serious physical injuries and long-term psychological consequences. The incidence of abuse towards older people is predicted to increase as many countries are experiencing rapidly ageing populations.”
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