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Responding to ageing in crisis situations: Live experience from Arab countries

من ويكيتعمر
اذهب إلى: تصفح، ابحث


Rouba Arja. Responding to ageing in crisis situations: Live experience from Arab countries. Gerontechnology 2014;12(4):214-218; doi:10.4017/gt.2014.12.4.005.00

Population and Social Development Section, Social Development Division, UN-ESCWA,

In a world ageing at ever-increasing pace, older adults have to face a myriad of challenges hindering their active participation in the economic, social and cultural life of their societies. All around the world, older persons aged 60years or over, are seen rather as a burden and drain on the resources of their families and communities than opportunities. They also suffer infringements of their rights. The situation of older adults in the Arab countries mirrors the one depicted at global level since challenging socio-economic and health conditions confront the daily life of the older population, in particular older women. In parallel, the Arab region is witnessing waves of unprecedented violent conflict and social movements that have led to massive forced migration and ever increasing numbers of refugees. The older age group is one of the refugees’ groups whose vulnerability is highly impacted in specific conflict and post-conflict situations. Drawing on the case of the Syrian crisis, the paper describes the initial socio-economic and health conditions that place older adults at a higher risk during emergencies, portrays the harsh conditions they have to face on the move and in their refuge, and argues that from a human-rights perspective the improvement of their initial socio-economic and health situation contributes to build their resilience and capacity to better cope in times of crisis. The paper also sheds light on the opportunities that are missed by overlooking the potential positive contributions of older adults in emergencies. It argues that recognizing the specific needs of the older adults in emergencies and trying to adapt the response to those needs is not sufficient. Efforts to provide adequate response are to be complemented by considering the untapped abilities of older populations which, if strengthened, could provide substantive help and support to their communities.

Keywords: aged refugees, elderly in crisis situations, disability, Arab countries


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