Health experts say that many senior citizens of Abu Dhabi have been dealing with mental health issues. This is because they have been quarantining alone at home, without anyone visiting them, during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Dr. Mouza Mohammed Al Sabousi, Behavioral Sciences Institute, Chief Medical Officer at Al Ain Hospital, added to this. He said that the debilitating state of mental health has been the case not just for senior citizens, but people of all ages during the pandemic.
What Is Being Done About This?
The Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) is providing these elderly residents with mental healthcare facilities at their homes. This was done by starting specialized mobile psychiatric clinics for treatment at home.
SEHA is collaborating with Abu Dhabi’s Department of Health (DoH) and the Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre (ADPHC). Together they make sure that services such as specialized psychiatric clinics and care for people with severe illnesses are made accessible for senior citizens. SEHA offers a package of varied and integrated services concerning home care for the elderly who are unwilling or unable to visit medical institutions and hospitals.
Dr. Marwan Al Kaabi, Group Chief Operations Officer at SEHA said that they will be conducting regular check-ups on the state of the health of the elderly age groups. This way, any issues they face can be immediately recognized. Additionally, this enables them to reach out to the patients or their families at the earliest, while doctors are present, throughout the day in case of an emergency.
Dr. Mouza claimed that even while their team was visiting the elderly at their homes, many of their families did not want them to be in contact with these patients. The elderly age group which does get mental health support is approximately the group that is over 65 years old. But the treatment provided by the geriatric psychiatrist for those dealing with memory loss or early-onset Alzheimer disease can be taken advantage of by younger patients
What Is The Mental Health Condition Of Senior Citizens?
Dr. Medhat Al Sabahi, Consultant Psychiatrist and Head of the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Unit at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, one of SEHA’s facilities, had given some input earlier this week. This was the fact that the Coronavirus did not discriminate between people based on their age, gender, or class. However, while any individual can come in contact with the virus and catch the infection in different severities, senior citizens face a higher risk.
If infected, the Covid-19 disease is likely to give them greater, more concerning complications in health, making them suffer adversely. Thus, the situation becomes even more difficult for the older age groups as they belong to the at-risk category when it comes to Covid. This ties them to their homes and deters them from even visiting doctors.
According to Al Sabahi, this age group is also more prone to having severe mental health conditions. It is 20 percent more likely for them than for younger age categories, as per data provided by the World Health Organization. Depression, weak cognitive abilities (Alzheimer’s), and anxiety are the main mental health disorders that trouble the geriatric age category. During periods of crisis such as when a pandemic or epidemic occurs, this percentage increases even more.