Thailand is one of the countries with the fastest rates of ageing-citizen growth in Asia – reportedly second only to China – while the public and private sectors’ preparations to support the rising number of seniors are not yet sufficient, Thonburi Healthcare Group chairman Dr Boon Vanasin said earlier this month.
He also pointed out that only 5 per cent of the current ageing Thai population were able to take care of themselves, and that a third of Thai seniors still had debts to pay.
Meanwhile, the trend for younger people to move to cities for jobs caused many elderly people to stay alone at home in rural areas and develop depression and chronic ailments, he added.
It is necessary to prepare people for ageing, provide preventive medicine and advice – such as exercise and a healthy diet – apply advance technology in diagnosis and treatment for illness, and provide shelter for those seniors in need of special care, in order to boost seniors’ healthy living conditions, Boon stressed.
He said artificial-intelligence technology, which can yield immediate diagnostic results, would play a key role in future and allow treatment to be conducted at home without the need for the elderly to travel to hospital.
Boon urged the public sector to promote public-health policies for senior citizens’ well-being, rather than focusing only on treating serious diseases.
He also urged the private sector to pay attention to after-retirement consumers in order to cater to the market’s shifting demands, and to help the government find solutions to this challenge.
Boon’s comments were made at the “NextGen Ageing – Shaping a Smart Future for an Ageing Society” conference, held by the Kenan Institute Asia on November 7 at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Bangkok.
The event brought together experts from the United States, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan who are at the forefront of ageing and technology to share cutting-edge research and innovations, in order for Thailand to better prepare for its upcoming status as an ageing society by 2021, when the number of elderly citizens will account at 20 per cent of the population.
The KIngdom's overall population currently stands at around 68 million.