BMA draws up new plans to help elderly
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BMA draws up new plans to help elderly

Focus is on providing services that help people stay in their own homes, says Chadchart

An elderly man has his hair cut on a walking street in Taling Chan district of Bangkok on Sept 11. (File photo: Apichart Jinakul)
An elderly man has his hair cut on a walking street in Taling Chan district of Bangkok on Sept 11. (File photo: Apichart Jinakul)

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will draft an action plan to improve the quality of life of senior citizens, who now make up over 22% of the city’s population.

Governor Chadchart Sittipunt on Monday presided over a ceremony in which the BMA endorsed an action plan for elderly people for 2023-27.

He said they capital had officially become an ageing society given the large demographic of senior citizens. The proportion climbs even higher to 32% in some districts including Samphanthawong and Pomprap Sattruphai, he added.

Mr Chadchart said there are many elderly, bedridden patients, including some suffering from Alzheimer’s, who live by themselves and have no family to care for them. In future, the situation would likely get even more unpleasant for elderly people in Bangkok.

“Cases in different districts can vary,” he said. “We have to prepare programmes for ageing, healthcare and transport. They have to include various organisations and effective action plans. Good criteria are needed.”

He cited practical programmes that help elderly people with their daily lives, such as training classes to keep them updated on technology, more parks within walkable distances of where they live, and free home-care beds for bedridden patients.

The third phase of the plan is a collaborative project between the BMA Health Department and the College of Population Studies at Chulalongkorn University.

Mr Chadchart said the draft would be revised within 180 days by the participating organisations. The action plan is part of the 20-year Development Plan (2013-32) for Bangkok Metropolis.

Napaphat Satchanawakul, a lecturer at the Institute for Population and Social Research at Mahidol University, said surveys show that elderly people prefer living in their own houses rather than nursing homes.

He suggested the public sector focus more on providing them with access to community facilities and offer technology and other training, as well improved healthcare and social care so that they can live comfortably on their own.

Sutthida Chuanwan, another lecturer at the institute, said there would be more than 20 million senior citizens in Thailand within the next 20 years. That compares with 12.1 million, or 18.3% of the population, at present.

According to the Thai Gerontology Research and Development Institute (TGRI), by 2039 some 28% of the Thai population will be over 65 years of age, making the country a super-aged society.

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