0

PCBS: Three of every four COVID-19 deaths are elderly

RAMALLAH, About three of every four deaths due to the novel coronavirus pandemic are elderly persons, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics announced on Thursday.

“Although all age groups are at risk of getting infected by COVID 19, the elderly are at risk of death and severe diseases after infection. Data from Ministry of Health indicates that among 353 deaths in Palestine as a result of the infection of the Coronavirus, there are about 75% of deaths among the elderly (60 years and above), and the number of sick elderly in Palestine reached 3,237 persons (8%) of the sick in Palestine, until the end of the month of 9/2020,” PCBS said in a press statement on the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons.

Titled Providing Protection for the Elderly during the Covid-19 Pandemic and Beyond, the statement offered recognition of the elderly’s efforts and highlighted their significant contributions in the society with the purpose of raise awareness of the problems, obstacles and challenges that they face.

As for the percentage of the elderly out of the total population, the statement showed that in mid-year 2020, the number of the elderly aged 60 years and above reached 269,346 persons (5%): 177,836 persons (6%) in the West Bank and 91,510 persons (5%) in Gaza Strip.

“Even though, the percentage of the elderly will be increasing during the coming years in Palestine, their percentage will remain relatively low and would not exceed 5% during the current decade. It is expected to start increasing after the mid of next decade,” it added.

Highlighting percentage of elderly males to elderly females, the statement said that the number of the elderly males aged 60 years and above in mid-year 2020 in Palestine reached about 129 thousand, representing 5% of the total number of the elderly males in Palestine, compared to 140 thousand elderly females, representing 6% of the total number of females, with a sex ratio of 92 males per 100 females.

On elderly-headed households, it said that labor force data for year 2019 showed that 18% of households are headed by an elderly person in Palestine (19% in the West Bank and 15% in Gaza Strip). The data indicated that the average size of the households headed by an elderly person is relatively small as it reached 3.3 individuals (3.1 in the West Bank and 4.0 in Gaza Strip), compared to 5.5 for the households that are not headed by an elderly person.

According to the statement, 93% of the elderly males in Palestine are married compared to 48% of the elderly females who are married. The percentage of the elderly widowed males reached 6% compared to 43% of the elderly widowed females in 2019, knowing that the percentage of the elderly males who were widowed in 2007 in Palestine was 8%, compared to 43% among the elderly females.

On difficulties among the elderly, the statement says that census data for the year 2017 showed that 84,194 of the elderly are with at least one difficulty (39%) of the total number of the elderly in Palestine: 35% in the West Bank and 46% in Gaza Strip. As for the types of difficulties, the most common difficulty among the elderly in Palestine was the mobility difficulties which reached 24% (20% in the West Bank and 31% in Gaza Strip) followed by sight difficulties (22%). It is worth mentioning that the percentage of the elderly with difficulties in 2007 was 34% of the elderly in Palestine.

The statement added that census data for the year 2017 indicated that 185,156 of the elderly aged 60 years and above are covered by health insurance; representing (86%) of the total number of the elderly, out of which 97% in Gaza Strip and 79% in the West Bank.

On the level of educational attainment among the elderly, the statement said that labor force survey data for year 2019 showed that the percentage of the elderly who did not complete any educational stage reached about 37% (21% males and 50% females), whereas the percentage of the elderly who completed diploma degrees and higher did not exceed 15%.

Educational status data for the year 2019 showed that there is a marked difference in percentage between males and females regarding educational attainment levels. In a sense, the percentage of the elderly males who obtained diploma and higher in Palestine reached 23% compared to 8% of the elderly females. Also, the percentage of individuals aged 18 years and above who obtained diploma and higher reached 25% of the total population that aged 18 years and above in Palestine (23% for males and 26% for females).

On poverty rates among the elderly, data indicated that the percentage of poverty among the elderly in 2017 reached 27% of the total number of the elderly, which is equivalent to 5% of the total number of the poor people in Palestine. The percentage of poverty among the elderly in the West Bank reached 18% compared to 47% in Gaza Strip, considering that the percentage of poverty among the elderly in 2011 was 22% of the total number of the poor people in Palestine (17% in the West Bank and 36% in Gaza Strip) and that the percentage of deep poverty among the elderly was 16% in 2017 (8% in the West Bank and 35% in Gaza Strip).

Notably, the poverty percentage among individuals of households headed by an elderly person in Palestine was the highest compared to the other Palestinian households, where it was 32% among individuals of households headed by an elderly compared to 29% among other households.

The percentage of households, whose main income earner are elderly persons and received in-kind or cash assistance due to the emergency declared during March – May, 2020, was about 14% out of the total number of households whose income earner are elderly persons. However, the percentage of households whose main breadwinners are elderly persons, and had to borrow money or buy in debit to cover their household expenditures, was about 41% of the total number of households whose main breadwinners are elderly persons.

Reflecting on the participation of the elderly in labor market, data showed that the percentage of the elderly participation in labor force during the year 2019 was 14% (18% in the West Bank and 6% in Gaza Strip).

On the use of mobile phones, data of the household survey on information and communications technology, 2019 showed that the percentage of the elderly who own a mobile phone reached 76% in Palestine (79% in the West Bank and 70% in Gaza strip). The survey results also showed that there is a gender gap in owning a mobile phone, where this percentage reached 86% for the elderly males compared to 67% for the elderly females. Besides, the percentage of the elderly who own a smart phone was 33% in Palestine for the year 2019 (36% in the West Bank and 27% in Gaza Strip).  According to sex, the percentage reached 36% for the elderly males compared to 30% for the elderly females.

On the use of the internet among the elderly, data of the aforementioned survey also showed that the percentage of the elderly who use internet from anywhere was 24% in Palestine during 2019 (24% in the West Bank and 22% in Gaza Strip).  According to sex, the percentage reached 27% for the elderly males and 20% for the elderly females. Data of the same survey indicated that the percentage of the elderly who use the social media or professional networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn…etc) of total internet users reached 87% in Palestine for the year 2019 (91% in the West Bank and 78% in Gaza Strip). There were differences in the percentage of using social media networks according to the elderly sex, as the percentage reached 90% of the elderly males compared to 83% of the elderly females.

On medical negligence and other forms of abuse among the elderly, data of the Violence in the Palestinian Society Survey, 2019 showed that 22% of the elderly (65 years and above) were subjected to medical negligence by a household member in Palestine (24% for elderly females and 19% for elderly males).

 

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency