Cuba needs more asylums and nursing homes for aging population
Published November 14, 2013EFE
Cuba’s healthcare system is facing the urgent challenge of increasing
its network of nursing homes and geriatricians to serve its aging
population, given that the country will be among those with the oldest
populations by 2050, Communist Party daily Granma said Thursday.
Currently, 18.3 percent of the Cuban public is over age 60, and this
represents more than two million of the island’s 11.2 million citizens.
But the present day infrastructure of nursing homes and asylums for the
elderly who need care includes less than 17,000 beds, the newspaper said.
The head of the Senior Citizens, Social Assistance and Mental Health
Department within the Public Health Ministry, Alberto Fernandez, told
Granma that requests for entry into those institutions “are fewer than
the real needs,” but they are still “greater than the existing capacity”
Cuba has a network of 230 “grandparents’ homes” – where the elderly are
taken care of during the daylight hours – with a capacity of 7,398,
although the demand is estimated to be more than 20,000.
Meanwhile, there are 127 nursing homes with 9,287 beds, where people are
housed who cannot be taken care of by their families or communities.
Authorities estimate that about 20 percent of Cubans older than 60 are
in “fragile” health or are “in a state of need” in a country where the
life expectancy is 78.9 years.
Fernandez said that by 2040 an estimated 2.7 percent of the Cuban
population will suffer from Alzheimer’s, a situation that will increase
the need for permanent care.
He also discussed the need to train more geriatricians, since the
island’s healthcare system has only 279 doctors specializing in
geriatrics and gerontology and just 137 physician-trainees doing their
residencies in those specialties. EFE
Source: “Cuba needs more asylums and nursing homes for aging population
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