Min. Health – Preparation of the National Strategy for Seniors

The preparation of the National Strategy and Action Plan for the elderly by the competent technical commission of the Ministry of Health was announced by the Minister of Health Popi Kanari in her speech at the conference of the Organization of Seniors of Cyprus and the Czech Republic. European Elderly Union (ESU) entitled “New prospects for better ageing”.

The conference addressed the medical, social and psychological challenges as well as the opportunities presented by increasing life expectancy and aging societies.

“One of the government’s main priorities is the development and creation of a National Strategy and Action Plan for the elderly. As Minister for Health, I am privileged to announce that the Department of Health’s Technical Commission on Population Aging has developed a National Strategy and Action Plan for Older People in collaboration with all relevant agencies. ” said the minister.

He noted that the Strategy is based on maintaining and improving the health of older people with four strategic pillars: Prevention, Promoting Healthy Aging, Age-Friendly Environment, Research and Education. This strategy adds, identifies gaps and makes recommendations on these four pillars.

At the same time, he mentioned that several actions are currently being implemented, such as a large campaign to prevent polypharmacy and interactive workshops on healthy eating, which are planned in all provinces from the new year.

“We want the changes caused by aging not only to be addressed, but also for all our citizens to enjoy a quality life for the rest of their lives despite these changes. We want all older members of our society to live their lives with dignity. This is the minimum remuneration of the state for the years spent by senior citizens,” said the minister.

Mr. Kanari noted that seniors are an important part of communities and contribute in many ways to family and society, while some of them have an important role as caregivers for the next generation. He added that they can engage in new activities, further their education or start a new career. But he said the extent of those opportunities and contributions depends largely on one factor: good health.

He also stated that the government will continue its unrelenting interest in modernizing the healthcare system for the benefit of the elderly and all citizens of the Republic of Cyprus.

Citing research, she noted that engaging in volunteer activities and active aging can lead to improvements in the mental, psychological and physical health of older adults, increasing their well-being by nearly 40%.

Health Commissioner: A new EU approach to older people

In her speech at the conference, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakidou highlighted the change in the European Commission’s approach to issues related to the elderly in recent years and emphasized the strengthening of efforts for the well-being of the elderly. However, he pointed out that new challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic have multiplied the responsibility to address the needs of the elderly.

In particular, he focused on the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable groups such as children, women, the sick and the elderly. He mentioned the problems of loneliness faced by older people and the Commission’s efforts to tackle it.

He also noted that through the European program EU for Health, around 5 million euros are provided to member states for initiatives to prevent and manage the problems that exist in the most advanced age, in particular to manage dementia.

As he said, under the 6th pillar of the European Health Union, there is an integrated approach to mental health that specifically targets vulnerable groups, while a demographic toolkit was adopted a month ago that emphasizes the importance of longevity through prevention. disease and health promotion.

He also noted that thanks to numerous crises over the past four years, the EU has proven to be a structure that can face difficulties and emerge stronger.

The Deputy Director of Social Services, Eftichios Hatzichristodoulou, on behalf of the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, pointed out that the increase in life expectancy opens up new opportunities, but at the same time brings challenges that require a national and European response.

He said the government recognized these challenges and opportunities and announced its decision to develop a National Strategy and a National Action Plan for Third Age and Active Ageing. According to him, the government’s efforts are to develop policies and adopt best practices to achieve goals such as social integration, active aging, inclusion, socialization and the provision of quality support and care services.

The deputy director also mentioned the programs implemented with European subsidies to create support structures, care, strengthening and socialization of the elderly. He added that new 24-hour adult care centers will be created through the Recovery and Resilience Plan. By December 31, 2024, he said, two new buildings will be built, and by June 30, 2026, another four new buildings.

He pointed out the importance of cooperation between ministries and the need to combine social policy with health policy for the issue of seniors, but also the need for cooperation with the academic community.

Vice President Heinz Becker said on behalf of ESU President Ann Hermans that the conference will benefit all generations. He pointed out its importance and emphasized that it benefits everyone, young and old.

The European Union of Elders, he said, declares that it is present and is determined to take any lessons that emerge from the conference in order to implement its political work. He urged everyone to work together for better aging, optimistically pointing out, “Yes, we can.”

Antonis Dimitriadis, chairman of the Cypriot Seniors’ Organization, said that “we need to prepare for a society in which seniors integrate smoothly and which is friendly to older people, they feel safe and accessible”.

He said that the increase in life expectancy should not be scary, but rather joyful, because with the development of technology, life is sometimes easier. However, he added that there should be a positive reflection for a better quality of life in all age groups.

Senior Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nicosia and President of the National Bioethics Committee of Cyprus, Konstantinos Fellas, said in his greeting that according to the World Health Organization, people over 60 will make up 22% of the world’s population within a year. 2050, with people over 50 representing 43% of the total population in the EU by 2025.

He said the key to addressing the challenges of an aging population is to allow people who continue to age to remain active and continue to contribute to society. He noted that despite the pressures on the welfare state, the pension system and the health system, the demographic change is positive because it means progress in medicine and more effective treatment of diseases, while the quality of life of the elderly has improved significantly, making a significant contribution to society.

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