The National Assembly on Ageing has urged the government to do more to improve the quality of life for the elderly.
Thailand was classified as an ageing society in 2005 when the number of people aged over 60 reached 10% of the population. This number is expected to reach 20% by 2024.
To mark National Elderly Day which falls on April 13 each year, the assembly has compiled a list of recommendations _ drawn up by 300 people representing the elderly and bodies that care for them _ on how the government can improve the lives of elderly people.
Assembly chairman Vichai Chokewiwat said the recommendations covered health, economic, social and education issues.
He said the Public Health Ministry should encourage hospitals to offer friendlier services to the elderly and provide more medical services at home and in nursing homes.
The government should also promote the importance of building up savings among the public to make people more self-sufficient as they grow old, he said. Old age pensions should also keep up with the cost of living.
Providing an elderly-friendly environment should be placed on the national agenda and cover housing, community facilities, public buildings and public transport to reduce possible accidents and allow people to live a safer and happier life, he told a seminar.
Life-long learning should be offered, and schools should be established for the elderly to help them work and live in society with more dignity.
Social Development and Human Security Minister Santi Prompat said his ministry has called on state agencies to employ more retired staff as they still have much to offer. The ministry plans to ask for a budget of about 3 billion baht to look after senior citizens better.
Pensioner Orachon Kaewkrajon, 77, said a fast-track system is needed to ensure the elderly do not have to wait long to receive treatment in hospitals.
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- Writer: Lamphai Intathep