SHARJAH, 12th May, 2020 (WAM) — The “Age-sensitive Sharjah Office” in the Social Services Department in Sharjah launched a guide for participation in the age-sensitive institutions initiative in its fourth session, which aims to encourage governmental, private and semi-governmental institutions to develop programs and services that help the elderly and facilitate their lives and daily lives and contribute to In integrating them into society through the standards set by the Global Network of Age-friendly Cities, a network that includes many countries from around the world, and Sharjah has been a member of it since 2017.
The initiative stems from the interest of the Emirate of Sharjah, which has given attention and care to the elderly, and to achieve leadership in the field of serving this category. For institutions to be accredited and age-sensitive, in accordance with engineering requirements and standards for accessible and distinguished services, which will reflect on other groups in society as well, such as people with disabilities. Thus, these institutions guarantee social integration and encourage active aging by improving opportunities for inclusion and achieving participation.
The age-friendly institutions initiative was the culmination of this decision, as the Sharjah Age-friendly Cities Program aims to create a comprehensive and sustainable physical, healthy, social, economic and urban environment that allows the elderly residents to benefit from its resources easily and in order to lead to an effective healthy aging. This initiative will allow an inventory of age-friendly institutions and facilities that will bear the title of “age-friendly institution”.
Asma Al-Khudari, Director of the Age-Smart Sharjah Office, stated that the number of age-sensitive institutions since the launch of the initiative in 2020 has reached 28 institutions in Sharjah and the eastern and central regions, and the accredited institutions are re-evaluated after 3 years.
The initiative is part of the office’s strategic plan 2021-2023, and its vision is summarized in achieving leadership in services provided to the elderly in all governmental and non-governmental institutions. Its mission is to motivate all institutions to adapt and develop their facilities and services to be appropriate to the needs of the elderly.-
The initiative is based on the foundations of 3 strategies, which are permanence, by offering programs and activities characterized by continuity, equality, by working with the elderly on the principle of equality and justice, and finally advocacy, by supporting and adopting the idea that Sharjah is an age-sensitive city.-
The initiative strengthens the membership of the Emirate of Sharjah in the global network of age-friendly cities of the World Health Organization. The strategic plan of the Sharjah Age-friendly City program supports the creation of a homogeneous environment that meets the needs of the elderly in the emirate, and raises the readiness of the engineering and service environment for the institutions participating in the initiative in line with the needs of the elderly. It also raises community awareness of the best practices and programs offered to the elderly in the emirate and highlights the role of the participating agencies in the initiative with their age-sensitive services.
Al-Khudari indicated that the age-sensitive institutions are the entities that have met 80% of the approved standards, which center around the engineering environment, services, facilities and social empowerment of the entity, so that they are considerate of elderly customers.
The general provisions for participation include fulfilling 80% of the criteria that apply to the participating entity and meeting the basic criteria for evaluation. In the event that they are not available, participation is canceled and the evaluation committee conducts evaluation visits to the institution to see the institutions in reality. The entity has the right to participate again in the initiative in the event of a change of building or desire to participate. In a new branch, the entity is also entitled to benefit from honoring photos and the initiative’s logo for marketing.
The application is made through the website: https://agefriendly.shj.ae