Number of elderly people in KSA rises — as do the burdens on their caregivers

Almost 25. 5 percent of the elderly in Saudi Arabia have diabetes and suffer from blood pressure. Shutterstock
Updated 10 June 2018
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Number of elderly people in KSA rises — as do the burdens on their caregivers

  • The findings of the survey showed the elderly constituted 4.19 percent of the total Saudi population
  • Almost 25. 5 percent of the elderly in Saudi Arabia have diabetes and suffer from high blood pressure

JEDDAH: As people age their need for care increases. It is not just their physical health and nutrition that need special attention they also become psychologically vulnerable and should be handled tactfully and with the utmost respect.

Many laws have been formulated for the treatment of the elderly in every country around the world and at the international level.
The number of civil society organizations specialized in the care of the elderly is also on the rise. However, a periodic review of these laws and procedures is required to do away with any shortcoming.
According to Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Statistics, a survey was conducted in 2017 to study the issues related to elderly care in the Kingdom. The findings of the survey showed the elderly constituted 4.19 percent of the total Saudi population.
The highest proportion of the elderly Saudi population was found in the Makkah region.
Almost 25. 5 percent of the elderly in Saudi Arabia have diabetes and suffer from high blood pressure. Data related to treatment costs of the elderly Saudi population showed that 79.4 percent of the treatment services were available to them and provided by the state, whereas the proportion of those who receive treatment on their own and have medical insurance is 20.6 percent.
30.9 percent of the elderly have mobility issues and need assistance in movement. In 86.5 percent cases, senior members of the family provide the necessary attention to these people and 10.5 percent hire the services of a nurse or a special caregiver.
Around 78.5 percent of the Kingdom’s senior citizens receive various services from the Ministry of Labor and Social Development.
Saudi Arabia is experiencing a steady increase in the number of elderly, which calls for a comprehensive action plan to take care of their health, psychological, physical and social needs. Here are two cases of elderly families in Jeddah, which explain what it is like to be a caregiver.
Salman Baseef, a father of four with a limited income, takes care of his mother, who suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure and a stroke in the brain.
He said: “My wife and I have taken care of my 72-year-old mom for the past three years,
“Sometimes we tend to go to private hospitals more than governmental ones, as the latter require a long waiting time and my mom’s case cannot bear to wait.
“By the end of this year, she will have the process of her medical insurance done and will be able to receive better health care in a good hospital.”
A Palestinian family, who has been living in Jeddah for the past 40 years, takes care of their 70-year-old father, Mustafa, who is suffering from heart muscle and diabetes problems.
Mustafa’s wife, Youmna Nassar, 58, said: “He has been suffering from heart disease for the last 10 years. We used to provide him with medical health care that required him to stay in hospitals for seven to 10 days until he got better.
“His stay there costs a lot. We ask his doctor what to do and how to help him in emergency situations, and we are trying to apply it at home.
“He cannot go to the bathroom himself so I help him in doing so, and that is the hardest part, but he is my dear husband and I will always be good to him.”
Mustafa’s family depends on their three sons to provide the cost of medical expenses.
Elderly care emphasizes the social and personal requirements of senior citizens who need some assistance with daily activities and health care, but who want to age with dignity.


Army splits with West Point grad who touted communist revolt

In this May 2016 photo provided by Spenser Rapone, Rapone displays a shirt bearing the image of socialist icon Che Guevara under his uniform, after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. (AP)
Updated 20 June 2018
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Army splits with West Point grad who touted communist revolt

  • “I would encourage all soldiers who have a conscience to lay down their arms and join me and so many others who are willing to stop serving the agents of imperialism and join us in a revolutionary movement”
  • Less than a year after Rapone’s images drew a firestorm of vitriol and even death threats, the second lieutenant who became known as the “commie cadet” is officially out of the US Army with an other-than-honorable discharge

WATERTOWN, New York: The images Spenser Rapone posted on Twitter from his West Point graduation were intentionally shocking: In one, the cadet opens his dress uniform to expose a T-shirt with a blood-red image of socialist icon Che Guevara. In another, he raises his fist and flips his cap to reveal the message: “Communism will win.”
Less than a year after Rapone’s images drew a firestorm of vitriol and even death threats, the second lieutenant who became known as the “commie cadet” is officially out of the US Army with an other-than-honorable discharge.
Top brass at Fort Drum accepted Rapone’s resignation Monday after an earlier reprimand for “conduct unbecoming of an officer.” Rapone said an investigation found he went online to advocate for a socialist revolution and disparage high-ranking officers. Officially, the Army said in a statement only that it conducted a full investigation and “appropriate action was taken.”
An unrepentant Rapone summed up the fallout in yet another tweet Monday that showed him extending a middle finger at a sign at the entrance to Fort Drum, accompanied by the words, “One final salute.”
“I consider myself a revolutionary socialist,” the 26-year-old Rapone told The Associated Press. “I would encourage all soldiers who have a conscience to lay down their arms and join me and so many others who are willing to stop serving the agents of imperialism and join us in a revolutionary movement.”
Rapone said his journey to communism grew out of his experiences as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan before he was accepted into the U.S. Military Academy. And those views only hardened during his studies of history as one of the academy’s “Long Gray Line.”
He explained that he took the offending selfies at his May 2016 West Point graduation ceremony and kept them to himself until last September, when he tweeted them in solidarity with NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was taking heat for kneeling for the national anthem to raise awareness of racism. Many other military personnel also tweeted in favor of Kaepernick, although most were supporting free speech, not communism.
West Point released a statement after Rapone posted the photos, saying his actions “in no way reflect the values of the U.S. Military Academy or the U.S. Army.” And U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, called on the secretary of the Army to remove Rapone from the officer ranks.
“While in uniform, Spenser Rapone advocated for communism and political violence, and expressed support and sympathy for enemies of the United States,” Rubio said Monday, adding “I’m glad to see that they have given him an ‘other-than-honorable’ discharge.”
One of six children growing up in New Castle, Pennsylvania, Rapone said he applied to West Point, which is tuition-free, because he couldn’t afford college. He was nominated out of high school by then-U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire in 2010.
“He was an honors student, an athlete, a model citizen who volunteered in the community,” recalled Altmire, a Democrat. “During the interview, he expressed patriotism and looked just like a top-notch candidate. There were no red flags of any kind.”
But he wasn’t accepted to West Point, so Rapone enlisted in the Army. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 and was assigned as an assistant machine gunner in Khost Province.
“We were bullies in one of the poorest countries on Earth,” Rapone said. “We have one of the most technologically advanced militaries of all time and all we were doing is brutalizing and invading and terrorizing a population that had nothing to do with what the United States claimed was a threat.”
Toward the end of his deployment, he learned West Point fulfills a certain quota of enlisted soldiers every year. Despite his growing disillusionment about the military, he applied and got in.
“I was still idealistic,” he said.” I figured maybe I could change things from inside.”
In addition to classic socialist theorists such as Karl Marx, Rapone says he found inspiration in the writings of Stan Goff, a retired Special Forces master sergeant who became a socialist anti-war activist.
Even while still a cadet, Rapone’s online postings alarmed a West Point history professor, who wrote Rapone up, saying his online postings were “red flags that cannot be ignored.” Rapone was disciplined but still allowed to graduate.
Greg Rinckey, an attorney specializing in military law, said it’s rare for an officer out of West Point to receive an other-than-honorable discharge. He added that it’s possible the military academy could seek repayment of the cost of Rapone’s education because he didn’t serve the full five-year service obligation required upon graduation.
“I knew there could be repercussions,” said Rapone, who is scheduled to speak at a socialism conference in Chicago next month. “Of course my military career is dead in the water. On the other hand, many people reached out and showed me support. There are a lot of veterans both active duty and not that feel like I do.”