IMMIGRATION CRISIS AND THE ELDERLY
By Shabnam Ziaei, Nov 2020
Old age, like childhood and adolescence, is one of the most important and challenging stages of life, with the difference that childhood and adolescence are full of energy and effort, and in contrast, old age is associated with a decline in strength and a decrease in physical activity. The impact of environmental factors, lifestyle and how to care for the elderly is one of the most important issues in this period. A healthy lifestyle guarantees the mental and physical health of the elderly.
Given this, the question arises: What is the situation of the elderly who have left their homes and taken refuge as a result for various reasons including accompanying their children and not leaving them alone?
There is no one-size-fits-all definition of aging. In developed countries, the age of
65 is considered the beginning of old age, but in underdeveloped countries, aging occurs at a much younger age. The United Nations considers the age of
60 to be the beginning of old age, while many experts disagree, arguing that in African countries, for example, the beginning of this period can be between 50 and 55 years old at the most. In general, determining the age limit for old age depends on several issues, such as reduced physical ability to do work, the impossibility of daily activities due to old age and reaching retirement age.
Immigration is not in itself a risk factor for health, but the conditions faced by asylum seekers impose a great deal of mental and physical suffering on them. In this
way, elderly asylum seekers, despite their physical problems and limitations, in addition to crossing natural obstacles such as mountains, forests, sea, etc., must also face physical barriers at borders; Things like barbed wire, fences, border police violence that, in addition to beatings, confiscate all their belongings, including money, cell phones, and even their shoes and clothes, forcing them to walk tens of kilometers on rough roads with bare feet.
Those who, after enduring much suffering, manage to overcome these obstacles, are settled in Central Europe and in temporary refugee camps, and life begins for them with minimal facilities and endless waiting for the refugee status to be clarified. Due to the lack of health facilities, the rate of morbidity and mortality among asylum seekers is much higher than in the people of the country where they live. A significant rate of transmission and infection also occurs with the arrival of new asylum seekers.
THE MAIN PROBLEMS OF REFUGEES IN THIS SITUATION ARE:
- Lack of mastery of an international language and difficult verbal communication with them. Most of the translators employed in these camps do not have the ability to convey the content.
- Patients are not prioritized for age, gender, medical history, and other factors.
- Medical facilities, ambulance and medicine supply is at the lowest possible level, and asylum seekers have to find a way to get the patient to the hospital themselves in times of need.
- In the case of special illnesses and emergencies, asylum seekers have no financial means and no insurance coverage.
- The number of patients in dense camps is very large and the doctors stationed in these camps are not efficient in terms of experience and facilities.
- Statistics and monitoring are not done to check the frequency and prevalence of diseases, as well as to predict and provide the necessary facilities and medicines in the camps.