The older persons are most seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. They live often alone and socially isolated, with limited access to information technology. The poverty rate among them is higher than the average per country. These aspects were highlighted in an analytical synthesis on the COVID-19’s impact on the elderly in Moldova that was produced by UNFPA Moldova and was presented on September 30, IPN reports.
UNFPA national aging consultant Alexei Buzu said the study examines the perception of the risk to which the elderly are exposed during the pandemic. Besides being physically isolated, the older persons were digitally isolated as only 10% of them use information technology and the Internet on a regular basis. This way, it is highlighted the vicious circle of marginalization and self-marginalization of the elderly.
According to the synthesis, the ensuring of protective equipment for COVID-19 is more costly for the elderly than for other groups. As a result of the pandemics, the inactivity rate among the elderly has increased, especially among persons from rural areas. During the state of emergency, the road to work for the older people is more problematic, while remote work is available to only 10% of the elderly.
It was also noted that the incidence of violence is higher among elderly women. Data from other countries show that during the state of emergency and during the pandemic in general, the incidence of violence grew. Even if this aspect hasn’t been yet measured in the Republic of Moldova, it is considered that there are preconditions for these tendencies to apply to Moldova too.
UN Resident Coordinator in Moldova Simon Springett said the pandemic came with a series of challenges for the health, social and economic systems. The risks of discrimination, poverty and social isolation appeared in the case of older persons. “The goal is to realize the impact on the elderly, to sensitize public opinion to their necessities. We really want to make sure that the older persons play an essential role in the context of policies. It is important to identify the main vulnerabilities and needs of older people,” noted the official.
Djulieta Popescu, secretary of state at the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Protection, said that effort has been made in time to adjust the policies and to meet the needs of the elderly even outside the pandemic. But the epidemiological situation came with new challenges that forced the authorities to take measures on the way. Besides the taken measures, steps continue to be taken to improve the quality of life for the elderly.
UNFPA Resident Representative in Moldova Nigina Abaszada said that for the UNFPA, the ensuring of the rights of the elderly has always been a key point of the activities they perform. In April, UNFPA Moldova provided protection products for the elderly from the most vulnerable localities. The approach is based not only on the support for the elderly, but also on the strengthening of the intergenerational dialogue. This way, the young people, who are an important resource, were engaged in the provision of emotional assistance during this period of isolation. Together with Help Age International, there was developed a project aimed at developing the digital skills of the elderly by donating mobile phones to them and involving young people in training older persons to use information technology so as to communicate with family members or to use public services available online.
Lilia Melnicenco, volunteer from Șoldănești district, said the pandemic affected her considerably as she was isolated and deprived of communication. As she is 69 and suffers from chronic diseases, she strictly obeyed the epidemiological measures. During March 13 - May 31, she practically didn’t live home. Even if many companies provide delivery services, many of the elderly simply could not access them. Later, she started to help other older persons despite risks as this was like coming out of hibernation.
The event was organized in connection with the International Day of Older Persons and the global conversation UN75.