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On the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons Conference around Elderly Care is Held at Beit Rafqa

On the occasion of United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons, and with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO), Lebanon’s Center for Studies on Aging held a conference in collaboration with Beit Rafqa NGO around elderly care services in Lebanon, on Tuesday, October 2nd, at Beit Rafqa premises in Jrebta, Batroun. The conference was attended by representatives of the World Health Organization, the Lebanese Ministry of Social Affairs, as well as directors, doctors and specialists from several institutions active in this field, in addition to journalists and Beit Rafqa staff.

The conference started with the welcoming speech of Mother Melanie Maksoud, head of St. Joseph monastery, Jrebta, followed by the elaborative speech of Beit Rafqa General Manager, Elie Abou Yaghi, who introduced the crowd to the services available at the elderly home, saying: “Since its establishment a little more than a year ago, Beit Rafqa has been able to surround the elderly with the necessary physical and spiritual care, providing them with all elements of decent life, all due to its carefully designed premises, in addition to its experienced and efficient nursing staff.” He added: “our gathering with you today is an important opportunity to improve the elderly care services and make a difference in the perception of elderly care in Lebanon and the Middle East. We thank you for your cooperation and we hope to continue working together to ensure a better life for our elderly.”

On the other hand, Dr.Ramzi Hajjar, Professor of Geriatrics and Head of Department at the American University of Beirut spoke about ways to enhance the health of the elderly, followed by the speech of Mrs. Mary Elias, social assistant in the family affairs department of the Ministry of Social Affairs, representing the ministry’s general manager, talking about the standards of nursing homes. In her turn, Mrs. Maha Abou Shawareb, director of Foyer Saint Georges, discussed ways to improve these standards within the elderly care institutions in Lebanon. Ultimately, family doctor Dr. Elissar Radi, director of the WHO office in Lebanon, presented the support programs offered by the organization and its ten-year plan aiming to improve elderly care services in Lebanon and the world.

The conference was concluded in a discussion between attendees, sharing ideas and plans to be implemented in the future. Dr. Nabil Koronfol, Professor in Health Management and Health Management Sciences and founding member of the Center for Studies on Aging, moderated the discussion, and has played a key role in organizing this conference on the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons, coordinating with the participating institutions, and making it a success. Within the discussion, Mrs. Mirna Doumet, President of the Lebanese order of nurses addressed the role of the nurses in the elderly care and the huge lack Lebanon is suffering from. Dr. Abla Alsibai, director of the Center for Studies on Aging and Lecturer at the American University of Beirut concluded by praising this gathering for the benefits it will bring to the elderly care sector in Lebanon.

The day culminated in a tour where the participants discovered Beit Rafqa premises, then enjoyed lunchtime in a restaurant nearby.

The activity aims at enhancing the cooperation between the competent authorities and the elderly homes, to work together in order to permanently ensure a decent life for the elderly which places Lebanon among the countries that provide decent life for the elderly after years of service.

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