*** ----> Unlocking opportunities: Bahrain's response to the decade of healthy ageing | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Unlocking opportunities: Bahrain's response to the decade of healthy ageing

BY Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood

Did you know we are in the fourth year of the Decade of Healthy Ageing as mandated by the United Nations?

The global effort to change perceptions and alter the realities of growing older began in 2021, and a recent 'report card’ has indicated that less than a third of the countries that were examined have adequate resources to deliver on the UN Decade’s four areas of action: attitudes, community support, integrated geriatric healthcare, and provision of access to long-term care for older people in need.

Bahrain is a country that has intrinsically fulfilled many of these goals. Our welfare state model provides free healthcare for all, and we have an excellent geriatric care system.

Our challenge going forward will be adjusting our rapidly changing social infrastructure and community network so that the elderly are always cared for, but their caregiving generation is also given the freedom to carve their lives on their own.

What has happened today is that people are living increasingly longer—eighty is really the new seventy.

At the same time, more and more of the traditional carers—the daughters-in-law and daughters—are educated and working outside the home, and families are nuclear, not joint.

This poses many challenges. Care patterns, too, have changed.

There are new long-term geriatric health challenges like chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, joint and muscular ailments that restrict movement, and mental conditions such as Alzheimer's and dementia. These need continuous care, not hospitalisation.

Are we enabling good-quality home care by trained home carers or nurses?

This is a new job-generation channel for Bahrainis.

I have pointed out before that we have often, in the past, let such opportunities slip through our fingers. The grooming (beauty salon and spa) business is an example.

Today, there are many Bahraini salon owners but few actual national workers.

The opportunity to generate jobs for Bahrainis has been submerged in micro-entrepreneurial channels, and the on-ground job beneficiaries are mainly skilled expats—Asians, Turkish, and others.

Let us start identifying new ways to engage with our growing 'silver’ population.

They can help generate new economic keys to unlock the future for our youth.


Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood is the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Tribune and the President of the Arab-African Unity Organisation for Relief, Human Rights and Counterterrorism