Lebanon’s population is aging but social services aimed at the elderly aren’t keeping up. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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While many retired and elderly people in Lebanon rely on traditional support networks of extended family, Tabbarah also identified a growing group of older people who are divorced, never married or whose whole family live overseas.In 2016, the Health Ministry announced a program to cover 100 percent of hospitalization costs for all retirement age Lebanese, leaving other medical expenses to specific programs managed by the ministry and for which candidates must apply.Many in Lebanon rely on private medical insurance.Apart from the 221 Social Development Centers around the country providing health services, the ministry manages four retirement homes and a number of daily clubs with space for over 3,500 people a year, as well as services for disabled residents.A source at the ministry said there wasn't a specific plan to face the growing number of elderly people in Lebanon, but that this demographic shift would be managed through the different programs and actions already put in place.Lebanese society does have a culture of family caring for elderly relatives at home; however, Kronfol and other experts see this as "just an excuse" not to tackle the challenges of an aging population head-on.
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