Tehran Moving Towards Age-Friendly City

Tehran Moving Towards Age-Friendly CityTehran Moving Towards Age-Friendly City

As the country’s population is quickly ageing, the health ministry’s department for the elderly has planned a national document for reforms in their health care based on “Islamic pattern.” The document is awaiting approval by the Supreme Council for Health and Food Security (SCHFS), Mehr news agency reported.

“The document is one of our achievements in improving elderly people’s health by considering all aspects including physical, mental and social care. In the document responsibilities of all agencies, organizations and institutions have been defined, said Dr. Parisa Taheri, head of the department for the elderly.

In order to improve healthcare, elderly population will receive free multivitamin and Vitamin D supplements to tackle ailments caused by vitamin deficiencies.

At present, shortage of doctors and experts in health care for the elderly is the main problem the department is facing.  Also lack of cooperation can interfere with implementation of the programs. “Even if we identify health centers and create awareness, many senior citizens are unable to refer to the centers due to motor disabilities, joint problems and severe arthritis. Also extending health services to a majority of senior citizens is difficult, because 66 percent are illiterate, which impedes communication.”

  Nursing Homes

In villages, healthcare workers can address the problem to some extent by referring them to old people’s home. But this is not possible in big cities like Tehran.

As a result, health care for the elderly is inadequate in big cities and therefore they are more vulnerable.

However, Iran’s health care system for senior citizens is used as a reference among East Mediterranean nations since WHO has described it as one of the most successful in the world. More than 15 diseases commonly prevalent among old people are screened by the health ministry, which has drawn the attention of other nations.

Tehran has been cited by the World Health Organization (WHO) to have potential to become an “all ages-friendly city,” including for the elderly. Although the city is still not completely elderly-friendly, nevertheless it has accepted the responsibility to move in this direction. It is hoped all cities of Iran will become elderly-friendly in the future.

The result of the last national census in 2011 when the population was 75.2 million showed the elderly accounted for 8.2 %. The census also showed that 70.8 % of them were married, 27.6% were widowed or divorced, and 9% lived alone.

Taheri put the elderly population at 800 million globally, adding that the number of old people will increase to 2 billion by 2050.