The geriatric expert from UGM’s FKKMK, Dr. Probosuseno, SpPD-KGer (K), said that the aging population has a high risk of getting sick or even dying. At that age, the elderly would be more prone to have a variety of diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and pulmonary to heart disease. Furthermore, according to Prubosuseno, the existence of the Covid-19 pandemic increases the risk of illness and leads to death in the elderly. However, health promotion to curative action in the elderly is essential. Thus, support from the government and community elements is needed.
“Not only the support from Government but also non-governmental organizations (NGOs), both giving support for independent elderly or perhaps half or entirely dependent elderly. They need proper handling and services so that their health is even better,” Probosuseno said in a Webinar seminar titled The Forgotten People: Elderly and Covid-19, conducted by the UGM Center for Population and Policy Studies on Friday (5/6).
One passkey to improving health for the elderly is to provide support for the elderly. This action aims to maintain a healthy life through environmental volunteers and social participation. According to him, the elderly who live with family members needed support in the form of adequate food intake, maintaining cleanliness, creating favorable environmental conditions for the elderly. “A loving environment is crucial in addition to inviting the elderly for routine health control, constantly creating joyful moments but still working diligently, such as reading and writing,” he said.
Director of Impoverished Reduction and Social Welfare, PPN Ministry, Dr. Maliki, said the Covid-19 outbreak pandemic increased the number of families falling into poverty by up to 55 percent and those vulnerable groups becoming inferior to 47 percent. Families at risk of being poor will have an impact on the elderly who have been dependent on spouses and family members who are affected by Covid-19.
Guaranteed social protection from the Government is vital to ensure that people can effectively access health facilities, essential services, and social services. He said that currently, most of them were living in really worrisome conditions. He explained that there are about 2 million aging populations aged over 65 years lived in poverty. Also, around 1.7 million elderly cannot live independently, and 11.3 percent of the elderly experience depression. “Elderly women have a longer life than older men though they are healthy, they are still worrying,” he said.
He acknowledged that social protection from the Government has not adequately provided overall protection to reduce the elderly group’s financial burden. “Cash transfers are still focused on reducing the burden of consumption. The elderly have not yet gained financial freedom,” he said.
While Researcher of the Center for Population and Policy Studies (PSKK) UGM, Mulyadi Sumarto, Ph.D., said the life expectancy of the elderly in Indonesia from 1960 to now is far behind countries in Southeast Asia due to the lack of health services. “Most of our elderly people live in three generations, where one house is left behind by their children and grandchildren,” he said.
If the state bears the treatment of the elderly in other countries, then on the ground, most of the elderly who are sick seek treatment at their own expense. “Most of the sick self-medication charged to children and grandchildren for medical expenses,” he said.
In almost most countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand, the social care insurance for the elderly only requires the age of 60. In their homeland, the elderly social care insurance in the form of the Displaced Elderly Social Assistance Program (ASLUT) is provided with a condition of 70 years old, “It is different from other ASEAN countries, which are only in the average of 60 years old,” he said.
Author: Gusti Grehenson
Translator: Natasa A