MAKKAH: The Saudi-based Charitable Society for Honoring the Elderly (Ikram) recently announced the completion of the Ikram National Resort project in Al-Baha (southwest of Saudi Arabia), which is the first of its kind in the Kingdom.
The resort was established as part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to improve care services provided to the elderly in the country. The completion of the resort was announced during the International Day of Older Persons.
“The idea of the project was that of Dr. Saeed bin Saad Al-Martan, the chairman of the board (Ikram) and the godfather of our association and its greatest supporter,” Abdul Rahman Abu Riah, CEO of Ikram, told Arab News.
“It emerged from building an aesthetic resort for those with no first-degree relatives, which was the basis for founding Ikram,” he added.
Abu Riah said that the project will provide permanent services for elderly people with no family members. Temporary services will also be provided for the elderly whose children suffer from poor economic conditions or those who cannot offer their parents proper services due to drug addictions and mental illness, among other issues.
Moreover, temporary services will be provided to the elderly whose children have left the country to study abroad or those who need a temporary home due to the absence of family members.
According to Abu Riah, there is a third category of services concerned with day care, where the elderly receive all types of care and services from morning until evening.
“This resort is keen to achieve life quality, which is a goal listed under the Kingdom’s Vision 2030,” he added.
To benefit from the services provided, the elderly must be older than 60, free from high-class mental illnesses or infectious diseases, not have a first-class family member, and be able to afford the financial fees.
“The association will be in charge of settling the fees on behalf of the poor and people in need through an elderly sponsorship program with the aid of the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development as well as large supporting companies.
“The association has received great support from Prince Hussam bin Saud, governor of Al-Baha, who has followed up and supported the project in person. The project will be launched next week as it began on the International Day of Older Persons in 2019.”
He added that the project is part of the initial phase of the first Ikram Resort, which will welcome 210 elderly people, including 120 women and 90 men, distributed among 120 rooms and suites comprising two to four beds. The resort has a large pool, a jacuzzi, a steam bath and a theater.
The latter will represent a turning point for the elderly, as it will host talk shows and cultural programs supervised by specialists, in addition to visitors from universities and schools, where the elderly can share their experiences and expertise, as well as social contributions. Multi-purpose halls will also be available, including sports equipment, an outdoor walkway, a library and clinics.
“One of our goals is to transform the Al-Baha region into a healing destination, where Ikram will be a first-class tourist healing hub specialized in physical therapy. We must first start with attracting qualified national cadres of both sexes who are specialized in physical therapy, as the government and private entities, in addition to businessmen and volunteers, have concerted and prioritized their efforts to give this decent aspect to the resort,” he said.
According to Abu Riah, the project started with land granted by the state, with a total surface area of 30,000 square meters, located in an ideal spot.
“We are now heading to the second stage of our project, which is concerned with married couples with no children. We are also working on the Montana tourist resorts, which include hotel villas for those wishing to enjoy the beauty of our nature while granting their families the opportunity to benefit from the available services.”