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Day care centers for seniors

Manila Standard

We’ve been hearing calls for years now for a thorough review of the party-list system of representation in Congress for various reasons.

One of these is the system as it is being implemented runs contrary to the noble intent of the 1987 Constitution to give the marginalized and underrepresented sectors in Philippine society a voice in lawmaking.

Corollary to this is the system has been taken over by political dynasties intent only on preserving their hold on political and economic power for as long as they can.

But there’s still a glimmer of hope the party-list system can still live up to its mandate to protect the rights and welfare of the marginalized and underrepresented sectors.

We’re glad one such party-list group, the United Senior Citizens, has filed House Bill 10362, or the draft Senior Citizens Day Care Center Act of 2024, to “promote the welfare and protect the interest of the ageing and elderly population.”

HB 10362 describes senior citizens day care centers as “center-based facilities directly managed by the barangay that provide daytime services to senior citizens on a regular basis for fewer that 24-hours on a nonresidential setting.”

The elderly day care centers would provide activities for socialization including arts and crafts, games, dancing, light exercise, discussion groups and outings; health services including medical monitoring and checkups, as well as occupational, speech and physical therapy; and special services, including early screening or testing for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

With more and more Filipinos reaching the age of 60 and above, the party-list group believes the establishment of senior citizen day-care centers in every barangay would help elderly Filipinos stay well and active through easy access to community recreation, education and health services.

The author of the proposed bill explains the rationale for it thus: “Events like demise of a spouse, retirement from work and onset of related illnesses may put older persons through brief periods of distress. External support or help may be needed by some to bring relief and expedite adjustment.”

While the Department of Social Welfare and Development has been providing housing facilities for abandoned, neglected and homeless senior citizens, these were “simply insufficient and inadequate to address the needs of numerous aging Filipinos whether or not separated from their families,” the bill pointed out.

The establishment of senior day care centers in every barangay is an idea whose time has come.

Hence, every effort should be exerted to make it a reality to ensure that the elderly can gain access to programs and services that would make their remaining years less stressful and more fulfilling.

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