Ehsan Centre executive director Mubarak bin Abdul-Aziz al-Khalifa.

In order to continue empowering and supporting older people and their families during the Covid-19 crisis and home quarantining phase, the Centre for Elderly Empowerment and Care (Ehsan) has stressed that it sees its role in community-based outreach and support for this particular age group as a national and collective social responsibility, and will support older persons and their families in a number of ways.
“Although confronting the Covid-19 virus requires a ‘whole of society’ approach and the engagement of well-informed and responsible citizens and governmental, private and civil society sectors, it is a fact that older persons are the most vulnerable population group who need the most protection and support. They are also the dearest to our hearts — they are our parents, uncles, aunts and grandparents, the older population that Ehsan is dedicated to serve and empower,” the center said in a statement.
Studies based on the Chinese National Health Commission indicate that this age group is most at risk and has the highest fatality rate of 15% for the over-80s, particularly since older people have an underlying chronic disease or weaker immune systems, the statement notes.
“Steps should be taken to ensure their well-being, and they themselves must be empowered with knowledge and information about how to prevent and recognize symptoms. Community-based organizations have a critical role to play during this crisis to support older persons to be well and stay safe,” it added.
Accordingly, Ehsan will support older persons and their families in the following ways:
l Launching an awareness campaign titled ‘Their health is precious to us’ through social media platforms to disseminate information and raise awareness about the virus and its consequences, and empower older persons with knowledge and advice on how to safeguard the mental and physical health in the coming weeks and months.
l Reach out to all older persons who are beneficiaries of Ehsan’s services (home care, physical therapy, and Ehsan clubs) through the launch of a center-wide tele-community outreach service that regularly checks in with older persons to assess their overall condition and provide advice and reassurance and raise their morale.
l Text messages with key awareness-raising guidance are also being disseminated to the mobile phones of registered families.
l Establish and activate a helpline service that receives calls from older persons in the community and their families and provides them with guidance, general psycho-social support during this crisis, and referral when needed.
l Continue to care for older persons residing in the Al-Iwa residential home who do not have any other shelter, taking all necessary precautionary health measures to protect them and keep them well.
l Activate remote daycare programs for older persons who are members of Ehsan clubs and engage them in using digital modes of communication on which they were previously trained by Ehsan with the aim of occupying the time of older persons in a way that benefits them and keeps them connected.