The government yesterday launched a new national ageing policy and announced the creation of a foundation for the elderly, which Prime Minister Hun Sen will preside over.
The policy aims to solve issues faced by elderly people, such as financial security, health and well-being, living arrangements, intergenerational relations, abuse and violence against the elderly, and the establishment of the Older People’s Association.
Speaking at the launch ceremony for the national ageing policy 2017-2030 yesterday, Mr Hun Sen announced details of the policy and responded to a request from Social Affairs Minister Vong Soth, who asked for approval from the premier to start a foundation for elderly people.
According to Mr Soth, the foundation will be used to support elderly people. He also asked Mr Hun Sen to be president of the foundation.
He added that people aged 60 onwards numbered about 1.2 million of the population in 2013 and would increase to two million by 2030.
“I would like to announce that I received a request to be president of the foundation to support elderly people,” Mr Hun Sen said.
“The ageing policy is the opening of a new social protection system for elderly people in Cambodia,” he said.
Social Affairs Ministry spokesman Toch Channy said his ministry would hold meetings with relevant ministries to draft an action plan.
“This policy will help the government solve problems associated with the elderly,” Mr Channy said.
He added the policy would help poor and homeless elderly people, improving their living conditions and helping with various issues, especially people aged 80 and older.
Mr Channy said the government was constructing a National Centre for the Elderly, which will open this year and welcome people who are poor, homeless, and have no family to take care of them.
“This centre is built with the highest standards, and is a place for the elderly to stay and receive care from the government,” he said. “We support them. If they do not have any children or anyone to take care of them, they can still rely on the government.”
Tum Vira, executive director of HelpAge Cambodia, applauded the new policy to support the elderly.
However, Mr Vira said the government should draft a law to protect the elderly in the future.
“This foundation is a good sign to support the elderly and implement policy in Cambodia,” he said, calling all relevant ministries to firmly implement the policy so that elderly people actually benefit from it.
Mr Vira said many elderly people called for free healthcare and public services. He said the government should respond to their needs.
The Prime Minister also announced the opening of a Cambodian branch of the Kantha Bopha Foundation last week to ensure sustainable funding for children’s hospitals. He will be the foundation’s honorary president.