Nearly 300,000 elderly people have joined community-based associations for older people, said Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation official Kun Cheasin.
Cheasin, who is the director of the Department of Elderly Welfare, told The Post on Sunday that 1,646 such associations were created at the commune and district levels by the ministry last year.
The Kingdom’s first official geriatric care training centre in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district is currently 95 per cent complete, he said.
“The centre will be completed by the end of this year, so we can begin operations next year. One of the ministry’s primary goals is to train people in geriatric care.
“The associations for the elderly were established by the Ministry of Social Affairs, [Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation], but they are non-governmental organisations.
“The associations help citizens a lot. For example, in case they are facing trouble in their communities, they can help solve them through pooled budgets,” said Cheasin.
According to the principles of the association, he said, people must be at least 60 years old to join them. However, each association has liberty to establish its age limits.
During a press conference on “Cambodian economic growth and equitable profit” at the Office of the Council of Ministers on Thursday, Lao Veng, the director of the ministry’s general technical department, said each commune must have at least one association for the elderly.
He said the establishment of the 1,646 associations comes as part of the National Aging Policy 2017-2030, which was approved on August 25, 2017, by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The plan, he said, aims to ensure that people of all ages are encouraged to freely participate in a dignified manner in family, communal, economic, societal, religious and political activities.
“The associations for older people have been running smoothly with a strong appreciation and participation from aged people in their communities,” he said.
HelpAge Cambodia communication and advocacy manager Von Bunret said he supported the government’s creation of the associations.
This will help aged people who are dependent and destitute to get the proper care they need, he said. “Poor aged people living in provinces are the most in need.”
“[However], the government should prioritise aged people living in their communities rather than investing in building care centres.
“Associations for the elderly have already been shown to be crucial in paving the way for people to easily receive benefits within their communities,” said Bunret.