Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has marked International Day of Older Persons, celebrated worldwide on October 1 to encourage countries to draw attention to and challenge negative stereotypes and misconceptions about older persons and ageing, and to enable older persons to realise their potential.
Dr Hanadi al-Hamad, national health strategy lead for healthy ageing, and her team support health awareness and promotion for adults aged 60 and above, to help them remain healthier, more active and independent for as long as possible.
To mark the day, the Healthy Ageing Programme team collaborated with Qatar Museums to conduct targeted activities for patients over 60 and their families in the National Museum of Qatar.
Dr al-Hamad advised that practical health literacy, effective health screening programmes, and the adoption of healthier lifestyles are essential in helping promote better health in older adults.
“When I was a young doctor the overall life expectancy in Qatar was significantly lower and the overall belief was that after the age of 60 you were old and should preferably stay at home. With better healthcare services and improved living conditions, the life expectancy in Qatar now is around 80 years and people should be able to continue to live productive and happier lives when they are well above 60,” said Dr al-Hamad.
“As people age, they have a higher risk of common chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, which can raise the risk of stroke and dementia. We want more adults to be more aware of these drivers of illness and disability and proactively prevent or at least minimise the effects of these diseases to improve the quality of life in older age.
"We conduct regular health literacy campaigns and offer multiple health screening clinics and services that are targeted towards people over the age of 60. We also conduct widespread professional geriatric training for healthcare professionals working in other fields, so they are more knowledgeable about the needs of this patient group,” explained Dr al-Hamad.
As the lead for healthy ageing, Dr al-Hamad supports the World Health Organisation’s Global Age-friendly Cities Guide, which "regards active ageing as a lifelong process shaped by several factors that, alone and acting together, favour health, participation, and security in older adult life."
“In line with the UN purpose for establishing the International Day of Older Persons, we don’t just want people to experience less illness in later years, we want them to be happier and continue to contribute to society with the wealth and experience they have gained over a lifetime,” added Dr Shirmila Syamala, senior consultant for Geriatric and NHS 2 Healthy Ageing Taskforce member.
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