Older people face numerous health complications and can fall into neglect
Over the years, life expectancy has gone up across the world, and Bangladesh is no exception. However, the quality of life for the elderly is a more complicated matter. Even in the best of times, older people face numerous health complications and can fall into neglect -- and the coronavirus-ravaged world in which we currently find ourselves is a particularly hostile one for the elderly segment of our population.
The theme of the International Day of Older Persons this year is pandemics, and how they change how we address age and ageing. This year, more than previous years, older people need special care. The pandemic has turned the world upside down for people of all ages, but the elderly face a significantly higher chance of dying if infected.
Older people have, then, been forced to make radical changes to their lifestyles to avoid risking infection, and this has taken a significant psychological toll which threatens to become a health hazard if neglected.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has pointed out that the severe impact of Covid-19 on the elderly has affected not just their health, but also their rights and overall well-being in other ways.
It is time to take better care of our elders, and ensure safety and dignity for them in their golden years. In a time of forced isolation, it is more important than ever for the elderly to be reminded that they are not alone.
To that end, it is good to see Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announce that the government has taken the initiative to implement the National Policy for the Elderly, as well as form an elderly development foundation, to increase facilities for senior citizens. This is an admirable first step, but in the longer run, more needs to be done in terms of elder care.
Old age, after all, is like a second childhood, and as such, our senior citizens need the right kind of nurturing.