Assembly urges govt to make care for the elderly a priority
The National Assembly on Ageing yesterday urged the government to make healthcare services and social benefits for the elderly a top national priority to improve older Thais' quality of life.
The number of elderly people - those aged over 60 - in Thailand is projected to jump from 8.56 million to 17.8 million by 2030.
To encourage elderly people to live independently and reduce the financial burden on the government, the assembly came up with recommendations for the government to help it formulate policies and prepare the public to handle the effects of the ageing society in the coming years.
The assembly was organised by the National Committee for the Elderly and attended by hundreds of representatives of state agencies, civic groups and academic institutions.
The recommendations cover health, economic, environmental and educational dimensions. Participants asked the government to issue policies that support the well-being of the elderly.
For the health dimension, the Public Health Ministry and relevant agencies should adjust services at hospitals and other healthcare units to make them friendlier for the elderly, including primary-care, emergency and rehabilitation services.
Meanwhile, they said, local authorities should play a key role in developing and allocating budgets to build capacity for caring for the elderly. The National Health Security Fund and Civil Servant Medical Benefit Fund must improve their methods to provide health examinations and promote the well-being of the elderly.
For the economic dimension, the assembly called on the government to raise awareness among members of the public over the importance of the pension fund, which will be the main financial resource for people when they get old.
On the environment, the government should develop infrastructures, facilities and accommodation to help older people travel and live on their own, participants said.
Regarding education, the government should set up schools for the elderly as learning centres to develop their capacity to work for their communities.
"We will submit these recommendations to the prime minister to [help the government] issue elderly-friendly policies in the future," said Dr Wichai Chokewiwat, the assembly chairperson.