In an effort to elevate the quality of life for older adults, the Ministry of Health has outlined a comprehensive plan to improve elderly care in Guyana. This plan encompasses a wide range of strategies, as detailed by the unit’s Coordinator, Dr. Melissa Dehaarte, during an episode of the ‘Health Matters’ programme.
Dr. Dehaarte emphasised the crucial role of public communication in enhancing elderly care. She proposes developing a robust communication strategy to educate the public about the specific needs of older adults and the proper methods of caring for them.
Public awareness campaigns are essential to raise understanding of the challenges faced by older individuals and the potential changes they may experience due to various circumstances, she pointed out.
Dr. Dehaarte believes that by fostering a deeper understanding of the aging process and the unique needs of older adults, a more supportive and caring environment can be created for this vulnerable population.
“We are working on an extensive communication strategy where we will be in-house with our own health promotion team and involving our stakeholders such as radios, televisions, newspapers etc., to better educate the public,” she explained.
Dr. Dehaarte further outlined plans to establish elderly clinics in all regions, ensuring that older adults have access to regular and comprehensive healthcare services. This initiative aims to address the unmet medical needs of the elderly population, promoting preventive care and early detection of health issues.
Additionally, the unit intends to collaborate closely with the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security to provide adequate support and resources for elderly care homes.
“We have also developed and are working in tandem with the Ministry of Human Service and their safety net programmes to ensure that we monitor and support long-term care facilities or what we call old people homes,” the health professional stated.
The unit has also partnered with faith-based and non-governmental organisations to provide community-based elderly care services. These organisations conduct home visits, organise recreational activities, and provide other forms of support to the elderly in their communities.
“We also work closely with our healthcare workers to build their capacity through training. And this is ongoing throughout the year to ensure that they are equipped to provide the right services to our elderly persons, especially those that are within the primary healthcare settings like the clinics and hospitals,” the coordinator highlighted. [DPI]