Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 November 2021
The world is ageing fast with a renewed emphasis on comprehensive healthcare for older people. This has created a paradigm shift towards rights and social justice-based approach to augment the medical model of mental healthcare. Dignity is one such construct embedded into the human-rights approach. It comprises of self-respect and worthiness of an individual as well as social acceptance of his/her identity. Dignity is a multi-faceted concept and consists of privacy, independence, inclusion, autonomy, etc. It includes community participation, functional abilities, rights to sexuality and oral healthcare, outcomes which are often neglected in conventional psychogeriatric care. Ageism and fear of ageing can exacerbate social stereotypes thereby compromising dignity in older people and risk of elder abuse.
Geriatric psychiatry is uniquely positioned to equip mental healthcare with a ‘dignity-based’ approach promoting social connectedness and health equality. This further needs integration into all levels of public health for better access and holistic psychosocial management.
With this background and on the backdrop on the unique psychosocial challenges posed by the COVID- 19 pandemic, this symposium glances at various dimensions of dignity-based psychogeriatric care:
– Practical approach towards dignity promotion in healthcare using an attributional model
– Perspectives, healthcare challenges and research from LMIC like Brazil and India related to dignity among older people and its impact on ageism and human rights
– Rights-based geriatric mental healthcare in the developed nations
– Finally, an urgent call for Convention on human rights of older persons for promoting dignity in healthcare and combatting ageism