FILE PHOTO Picture:Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)

Rethink elderly care, says WHO

“We need to see the needs of our older generation as a rights issue – the right to be cared for, the right to social contact.”

CAPE TOWN – It is time to rethink how the elderly are cared for, says the World Health Organization (WHO).

 

In a speech at the United Nations in Geneva on Monday, the organisation’s Dr. Mike Ryan said countries need to see elderly care as a “rights issue”.

 

“We need to fundamentally rethink the relationship we have with older generations and the way in which we provide care for that generation. We need to see the needs of our older generation as a rights issue – the right to be cared for, the right to social contact,” he said.

 

As of June 22, 2020, a total of 1,930 Covid-19 related casualties were registered in South Africa in 2020. Majority of deaths fell within the age group of 60 to 69 years.

 

In South Africa, population estimates indicate that the proportion of elderly persons (60 years and older) has grown from 7,6% in 2002 to 9,1% in 2020.

 

Ryan also spoke about the fatality rates in old age care homes being high, partly because the elderly are more vulnerable to the disease.

 

“The response has been lacking, leading to some centres being overwhelmed, with bodies left unattended in rooms even in some rich countries,” he said.

 

Meanwhile, the Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) has recorded an increase in Covid-19 recoveries and a decline in the number of infections across old age homes in the province.

 

The province, which was once the epicentre of the novel Coronavirus, said it would continue to monitor infection rates by monitoring strict health and safety protocols.

 

However, 69 care facilities across the country have reported Covid-19 infections. In June the total number of infections across these facilities are 520 (237 residents and 283 staff), and there have been 35 deaths among residents.

 

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