Home News Chronic illnesses, cognitive impairment continue to affect elderly
Many elderly persons in Guyana continue to face negativities stemming from social issues in society, topped with their health statuses.
This is according to Coordinator of Elderly Health at the Public Health Ministry, Dr Melissa Dehaarte, who during an exclusive interview with Guyana Times, stated that in relation to treating the physical ailments, chronic illness continues to affect the elderly.
She explained that most of the chronic illness that the elderly suffer from could be treated before they further develop but that usually, it is when that illness has evolved then elderly folks decide to seek treatment.
“And a lot of chronic illnesses are not diagnosed because persons do not come in to our primary health care facilities and we want to encourage them to do that to get screened. Many chronic illnesses do not have symptoms early on and when it is in its advanced stage then you may symptoms of diabetes or hypertension”.
According to Dr Dehaarte, cognitive impairments are also major issues that the elderly continues to battle with on a daily basis.
“Such as senility or Alzheimer’s, where you would see persons acting violently or wandering away from home. Or forgetting where they are or who they are. We want persons to be screened for that. That can be screened for at any primary healthcare facility”.
She added that outside of the physical and medical conditions that the elderly have to deal with, there are social ills that affect them— the most terrible of which is elderly abuse. This, she says, is more prevalent than one would think.
“There are different forms of elderly abuse, we can encounter physical abuse, financial abuse and even verbal abuse. Most persons know about financial abuse when we speak of someone taking away someone’s pension or their land and so on. So basically, any form of abuse that does not recognise or uphold the human rights of an older person, we face that a lot in our society”.
Earlier this year, a study conducted by ChildLink found that abuse against the elderly has been on the increase. ChildLink had presented the information at the University of Guyana, Turkeyen Campus, Greater Georgetown, in March.
Chairman of the advocacy group, Kosi John, who had shared an overview of the report said, “as in those of the low-income group and also among the under-aged and very young, abuse of elderly, women and children has been on the increase”.
John went on to say that urgent attention must be focused on the plight of the vulnerable group, who are often incapable of defending themselves and breaking out of the abusive environment.
The Chairman, at that time, said he believes that abusive trends are linked to the fact that young people grow up seeing that someone should be hit when they do something that is not pleasing.