Vietnam will become a “super-aging” country by 2050, however, the country is not prepared to adapt to the rapid pace of aging and provide good care for the growing elderly population, heard a workshop in Hanoi on December 12.
“The Workshop on Aging Population and Health: The Longitudinal Study and the Role of Population Collaborators in Community Based Care for Older People” was held by the General Department for Population and Family Planning (GOPFP) under the Ministry of Health in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) of Japan and the Institute of Population, Health and Development (PHAD).
Population aging is one of the most significant social transformations globally with one in 11 people in the world over age 65 this year, said GOPFP Deputy General Director Nguyen Thi Ngoc Lan in her opening remarks.
Vietnam officially entered an “aging phase” in 2011 with 7 percent of the population above age 65, she said. This year, the figure grew to 8.3 percent, equivalent to over 8 million people.
Such rapid pace of aging has placed great burden on Vietnam’s health care for the elderly but the country has yet to prepare for that, she said.
In 2018, the ERIA teamed up with the PHAD to conduct a longitudinal study on the older people and health of the elderly on about 6,050 older people in 10 cities and provinces in Vietnam from December 1, 2018 to May 31, 2019.
The findings show that over 57 percent of old people asked were women, over 82 percent of them got married, and about 70 percent lived in rural areas. The percentage of the older people who live alone is relatively low, around 11 percent for women and 4 percent for men.
It also reveals the elderly’s health status. Accordingly, more than 62 percent of the respondents said they were suffering from high blood pressure, 86 percent of whom were receiving treatment. About 40 percent did not know they have high blood pressure.
About 56 percent were satisfied with sleep, over 6 percent showed signs of depression and 4.4 percent showed signs of dementia. About 91 percent owned a health insurance card.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Quynh, a programme official from the UNFPA, said that the population aging in Vietnam is partly due to falling birth rates in all six socio-economic regions and ethnic minority groups.
Vietnam needs to have a health care strategy and ensure good health for the elderly during their life circle, he said, stressing the importance of initial health care, preventive care, medical and non-medical care, health care services at home and in the community./.VNA
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