Covid-19: Elderly residents in Abu Dhabi deal with mental health issues due to isolation

Abu Dhabi - Specialised psychiatric mobile clinics are providing senior citizens with treatment at home


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Thu 10 Jun 2021, 11:46 AM

Last updated: Thu 10 Jun 2021, 11:47 AM

Several elderly residents in Abu Dhabi have been facing mental health issues as they are spending their time mostly at home and have no visitors due the Covid-19 pandemic, said health experts.

The Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) said it had introduced specialised psychiatric mobile clinics to provide the senior citizens with mental health treatment at their home.

Dr Mouza Mohammed Al Sabousi, Behavioural Sciences Institute - Chief Medical Officer at Al Ain Hospital said the pandemic created mental health challenges for patients of all age groups. With the elderly, the main challenge is having to confine at home with minimal ability to even visit their physicians due to the risks.

“Even with the home visits, many families were hesitant to allow our team to meet their elderly patients,” Dr Mouza told Khaleej Times.

”The geriatric age groups that received mental health treatment is roughly 65 years and higher, however, younger patients could also benefit from the service of the geriatric psychiatrist such as those suffering from memory issues or early onset Alzheimer disease.”

SEHA in in coordination with the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH) and the Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre (ADPHC) - provided many services to senior citizens, including specialised psychiatric clinics and treatments fro those with chronic ailments.

“The mechanisms have been put in place to follow up on the health status of senior citizens and to identify the problems they may be exposed to by directly contacting them or their families in the presence of doctors around the clock in case of emergency,” said Dr. Marwan Al Kaabi, Group Chief Operations Officer at SEHA.

Dr. Medhat Al Sabahi, Consultant Psychiatrist and Head of the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Unit at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, one of SEHA's facilities said earlier this week that Covid-19 does not distinguish between age, gender or class. Any person may be exposed to infection in various degrees but older people are at highest risk from Covid-19 as the infection itself make them more likely to suffer severely from Covid-19 disease with more serious complications.

Al Sabahi pointed out that the elderly group is more likely to have mental disorders, at a rate of about 20 percent than the rest of age groups, according to the data of the World Health Organisation, and that the most prevalent disorders among the elderly are depression, weak cognitive abilities (Alzheimer) and anxiety, and this percentage increases in times of crises and the spread of epidemics.

SEHA provides a package of diverse and integrated services with regard to home care for senior citizens who do not wish to attend health centres and hospitals.

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Alamy photo used for illustrative purpose
Alamy photo used for illustrative purpose

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