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Policymakers in Middle East Urged to Invest in Formal Systems of Old Age Support and Long-Term Care


Need to ensure the availability of health and social services for older persons and promote their continuous participation in a socially and economically productive life.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, May 13, 2015 --(PR.com)-- Population aging presents major challenges for the Middle East. Most countries in the area are facing strain on informal support systems, pressure on healthcare systems, shrinking productivity and increasing demand for pensions and increasingly feminized older populations. Policymakers in the Middle East are urged to shift healthcare sector priorities to include chronic disease prevention, and invest in formal systems of old age support.

According to Dr Abdulrazzak Abyad, Director of Abyad Medical Centre, Lebanon, “The Middle East is one of the fastest growing regions in the world, and continued improvement of the healthcare delivery will lead to rapidly aging populations within the next few decades. It is projected that by the year 2025, the total elderly population will reach 976 million with 72% living in developing regions. It is estimated there will be more than 4.5 million hip fractures annually and more than 36 million patients with dementia, which are profoundly disabling conditions explaining the concerns of an imminent pandemic of frailty, co-morbidity, and disability.”

Speaking ahead of the upcoming Building Healthcare Exhibition & Conferences organised by Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions taking place from 8-10 June 2015 at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre, Dubai, UAE, Dr Abyad explains that, much like in other developing countries, the Middle East needs to define the policies and programs that will reduce the burden of aging populations on its societies and economies. There is a need to ensure the availability of health and social services for older persons and promote their continuous participation in a socially and economically productive life.

“There is movement in the Middle East to establish new comprehensive elderly care facility. These facilities will be part of continuous care of the elderly including community care. Specialised residential facilities and retirement village will be something to consider. The advancement of technology including e health will help in providing better care for our seniors,” says Dr Abyad.

It is important to achieve a balance of care between community and institutional services, both for humanitarian and economic reasons. Given the growth of the aging population in the Arab World, with expected multiple chronic illnesses, the need for intermittent or continuous long term care services will undoubtedly grow including nursing facilities and home or community-based long term care.
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