Dubai: In a ground-breaking move, Dubai Community Development Authority (CDA) has introduced cutting-edge services for senior citizens.
This transformation not only reflects the evolving lifestyles and aspirations of older people in the nation, but also supports the global drive to empower older people in various social spheres.
The announcement was made during a grand event organized by the CDA, held at the Thukher Club in Al Safa Park to mark the International Day of Older Persons. The event was full of enthusiasm as senior citizens and officials from the public and private sectors actively participated in a variety of captivating activities.
This introduction of the CDA’s new approach is both a response to changing conditions and a forward-looking strategy to address the emirate’s emerging community development needs.
It recognizes the growing demographic of vibrant, healthy seniors seeking to lead lives rich in commitment and purpose.
The Authority’s renewed strategy is based on six pillars. Its objective is to promote the mental well-being of older people, improve their social commitment, take advantage of their vast experience, strengthen economic sustainability, maintain their dignity and respect and promote social harmony.
Mental health is a key focus for CDA in designing its services for older people. The Authority recognizes the impact of social isolation, loneliness and the loss of daily functions, both personal and social, which can lead to serious psychological conditions that affect the well-being of older people.
On the contrary, active participation in social and family events and greater social integration have been shown to substantially benefit your physical and mental health.
The Community Development Authority predicts that by 2030, the number of people in Dubai aged sixty and over will exceed 22,000. This projection highlights the vital need to integrate this segment of society into sustainable economic frameworks.
Her Excellency Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid, Director General of the CDA in Dubai, underlined the need to adopt a multifaceted and integrated approach to ensure the well-being of older people and expand services for older people beyond basic care to reflect the aspirations of the growing number of active and healthy older people.
“To create a unified society, in which every member experiences happiness and stability, we must anticipate the diverse needs of various segments. We must see older people as active contributors, not just recipients of care, and facilitate their participation in daily and community activities, and harness their wisdom,” he stated.
He emphasized that CDA is taking an integrated approach to addressing the needs of older people, including social care, empowerment opportunities and participation, to enable them to lead dignified and purposeful lives, enriching the diversity and prosperity of society. “Investing in the integration of older people is as crucial as investing in young people and is fundamental to the future prosperity of our society,” she said.
During the event, CDA said Thukher Social Club has provided more than 80,000 services to senior citizens since its inception. These services mainly focus on promoting the social integration of older people and facilitating various activities, such as trips and recreational events.
The Authority also highlighted its generational communication initiative, which involves imparting the wisdom of elders to children and young people through school lectures and community meetings. This program has already benefited more than 11,000 young people.
Honoring distinguished seniors
The event honored six distinguished seniors who have distinguished themselves in various cultural, sporting and social fields. His remarkable contributions have left an indelible mark and his legacy has endured through generations.
Among those honored was Farid Abdul Rahman Zainal, the first Emirati referee to obtain an international badge in the field of refereeing. His career, which began in 1968, saw him achieve significant success and recognition, culminating in his tenure as an international referee until 1988.
The ceremony also paid tribute to Muhammad Abdullah Al-Kous, former Al-Nasr Club player. He is known as one of the youngest players to represent the United Arab Emirates national football team. His football career began at Al-Faraj and then moved to Al-Hilal Al-Bahri. He eventually joined Al-Nasr after the merger in 1960. In 1986, he took over the leadership of Al-Nasr and achieved a notable hat-trick under the guidance of Brazilian coach Lapolla.
The event also celebrated Dr. Ali Abdullah bin Arab, a committed veterinarian who worked in the Ministry of Agriculture until 2000. Dr. Ali distinguished himself as a pioneering figure in veterinary medicine, being one of the few Emirati citizens to specialized and innovated in this field.
Distinguished Emirati artist Moza Al Mazrouei was also recognized for her pioneering contributions.
In 1973, she broke new ground as the first woman to take the theater stage, breaking gender barriers that had previously limited participation to only men. Her extraordinary talent earned her the title “Mother of Emirati Playwrights.”
Another distinguished elder honored at the ceremony was Samira Al Khaja, a distinguished professor recognized for her expertise in Arabic language and Islamic education at the Ministry of Education. She received a special distinction from the Minister of Education in recognition of her outstanding contributions to education.
Also recognized at the ceremony was Ahmed Mohammed Al Suwaidi, a dedicated civil servant with more than 31 years of service in federal and local government. In addition to serving in the government, he established a private museum displaying a notable collection of antiques and heritage artifacts.