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One more crisis to pay

Contributor: Marina Kotsani

Origin/affiliation: Geriatrician (France, Greece)

With the COVID-19 crisis still unfolding towards the unknown, another global crisis has struck the world. Of course, the conflict in Ukraine mainly terribly affects people directly involved, who sadly found themselves in the middle of war-fire overnight… All nations worldwide are filled with worry and compassion for victims of this conflict and hope for an end of this as soon as possible. But there is also another issue. What people particularly fear is the way they see the World changes, not towards the right direction. Other than geopolitical, military, economic issues and altered people’s sensation about global safety, prosperity and progress, concerns go further about the “next day”.

Already since the day after the outbreak of the war many nations have considered net increases in their military defense budgets. Such a shift in governments’ priorities cannot leave intact funds attributed to other goods such as Health and Education. Old age health care used to be a priority in an ageing world, but can it still remain a priority in a destabilized world? How will the vulnerable older person deal with raised heating and basic goods’ prices? How may they feel the last direct memory carriers from the World War II watching history falling again into devastating mistakes? Will the older persons be once more the big “forgotten”? When will worldwide urgences be mastered so at, at last, release our energy and creativity to future?

Older people are the greater “consumers” of health care services, and we should anticipate that restrictions in health budgets will afflict them in priority. Besides, they are the least able to react, they can no longer push further the production machine, they can barely invent alternative sources of revenue and, thus, they count (rather depend) on public health systems and social services more than anyone. Perhaps by adding a bit more humanism in the already individualized care geriatricians offer, they could alleviate the great deceptions by the World older people were meant to live at the sunset of their lives. It may be that another sort of humanitarian medicine can be applied also far from the planet’s “hot zones”.

Image by victoraf from Pixabay

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