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The Elderly's Affairs

Given the fact that the elderly have their capabilities and potentials, especially when care, appropriate training and rehabilitation services and equal opportunities are provided to them, they will be able to effectively participate, alongside with the other social groups, in achieving the comprehensive social development in the country. The elderly’s care programs in the Sultanate of Oman follow the international directions that prefer to care for the elderly in their social and familial context, and in such a way that would guarantee their dignity and improve the quality of proper life, and to reduce as much as possible to care for them inside the care institutions where a lot of negative points have proved to be prevalent through adopting them as care programs for the elderly.

The demographic characteristics of the elderly group in the Sultanate are as follows:

Depending on the last census in 2010, we can notice the following:

  1. The total number of the elderly was (101145) at a percentage of (5.2%) of the total population reaching (1957336) capita.
  2. It is expected that there will be an increase in the number of the elderly to form (20.4%) of the total population by 2050. This requires an increase in the readiness of the infrastructure, care, quality of social services and many others to accommodate for this increase.
  3. The majority of elderly, particularly the men, are married. There is a decrease in the percentage of the divorced among them which indicates their stability.
  4. The high increase of literacy among them (5.79%) .
  5. The percentage of elderly working in economic activities is (8.17%) of the total number of the elderly.

The Sultanate is witnessing gradual increase in the number of the elderly as the rest of the countries of the world for the following reasons:

  1.  The increase in the deaths rates.
  2. The increase in the births rates. 
  3. The increase in the individual’s life expectancy at birth. 
  4. This comes as a result of the improvements in health, social and economic services.
  5. Over the past three decades, average life expectancy increased in the Sultanate from 57,7 years to 72.7 years. The same period witnessed a deterioration in the deaths rate from 13.3 death per every one thousand citizens in 1980 to 3 deaths in 2009 .

Many other funds and authorities pay retirement pensions to the workers in the government and the private sector who are retired as follows:

  1.  Civil Service Employees Pension Fund.
  2. Royal Oman Police Pension Fund.
  3.  Ministry of Defense Pension Fund.
  4. Public Authority for Social Insurance.
  5.  The Health Services Insurance.

In the framework of the efforts exerted by the Sultanate represented by the Ministry of Health, the elderly receive the required health services through more than 118 health centers and 47 hospitals in the different wilayas and regions of the Sultanate. What confirms the advancement of health care in the Sultanate is the World Health Organization’s report in 2000 which placed the Sultanate in the first position in terms of the efficiency of the health system which contributed to a decrease in deaths rate into 65.3 per one thousand and the life expectancy increased to 73 years which indicates the care and concern given to the elderly on the health level.

The elderly care programs in the Sultanate

The elderly care programs in the Sultanate are as follows:

  1.  The elderly in the Sultanate are given great attention and recognition by their relatives and community members as they are considered a source of the correct advice due to the experience, wisdom and vision in perceiving issues. Rather, the family abides by their orders and pieces of advice giving them the leading role in any gathering and a symbol of its status in the society.
  2. In this regard, no problems emerged to call for the establishment of any care institution to shelter the elderly, albeit there is a Care Home in case there were some individual cases of the elderly who have no relatives at all and need sheltering care, but the Home receives very view and rare cases.
  3.  Commemorating the International Day of Older Persons: this occasion is celebrated on the first of October every year in pursuant with the United Nations’ resolution No. 45/106. The celebration happens on the level of the Sultanate in general – the Ministry of Social Development used to hold a celebration every year that contains various subjects including (inauguration of new enterprises in the field of elderly care, studies and research in the field of elderly care to develop the provided services, media aspects on the central and local levels, honoring the distinguished elderly who have given a lot to the community and have prominent role in the society, honoring the units of distinguished services by the competent authorities and honoring some individuals interested in providing services to the elderly).

Services offered to the elderly

Taqdeer Program

The governmental and non-governmental institutions offer social, health and psychological care to the cases of elderly and the disabled in their houses and their family and social context in consideration of their health and psychological situation and in recognition of their role in serving the community during their life career.

  1.  Care programs and activities for the elderly.
  2. Instruct and encourage the society to participate in the programs and activities directed to the elderly
  3.  In house care of the elderly .

Social Care Home in Al-Rustaq

This Home shelters the elderly and old people especially those who have no breadwinner from their relatives who can takes care of, serve, and meets their life and social needs.

  1.  The new Home has been opened and transferred to in January, 2015. The number of the residents in the Home was (31) elderly (25 males and 6 females). It offers social, psychological, health and recreational care service to those guests.

The Elderly’s Companions Project

Objectives of the project

  1.  Provide safe and appropriate environment to care for the elderly.
  2. Establish the positive values and habits derived from the Omani society and Islamic law (Shari’a) .
  3.  Achieve health, psychological and social stability for the elderly through the house health care provided by specialized companions .
  4. Reduce the risks of the non-Omani laborers .
  5.  Assist the Omani women to get involved in the job market through training and rehabilitating them to improve their economic and living conditions.

Direction to convert the communal halls (Sibal) into elderly clubs

The support presented by the Ministry is exemplified in encouraging the locals to build the public halls, known as sibal, through offering the financial support to implement these projects which are considered as social clubs holding social occasions such as happy and sad events like weddings and funerals as well as poetry evenings, etc. As a result, the elderly are considered among these sitting halls’ goers and participants as they transmit their experience in the different fields of life. These sibals are also used by the elderly in teaching children the Holy Quran. They are also a forum for offering advice for young generation and the members of the society as they take them out of solitude and introversion. They also enrich their role in the society.

The National Elderly House Care Program

The Ministry offers the National Elderly House Care Program in cooperation and integration with the Ministry of Health and the Omani Society for the Elderly’s Friends in a regular framework according to the approved and specified work mechanisms in accordance with every authority’s competence. The Ministry of Social Development offers the following services to the elderly:

  1.  Offer the daily life support devices (equipment and aids).
  2.  Prepare the house according to the elderly’s needs (adjustment of the floor, expand the entrance, etc.).
  3.  Financial support (social security salary – one paid assistance – one time financial assistance).
  4.  Empower and train the family to care for the elderly.
  5. Provide the companion/ the alternative family.
  6.  Socially and psychologically direct and instruct the families.
  7.  Coordinate the local society efforts.

Social national cooperation

Providing the best services to the elderly by activating the real communal partnership among the governmental and civil state’s institutions to adopt the voluntary initiatives in the care fields and adopting the voluntary programs and convert them into sustainable projects contributing to the sustainable social development such as (the Association of the Elderly’s Friends).