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Senior Citizen Benefits in UAE

Senior Citizen in UAE

Senior Citizen Benefits in UAE

As per the Dubai Statistics Center, around 6.6% of the total Emirati population are seniors or people above 60 years. With improved lifestyle, quality of life, and better healthcare services, the average life of Emirati residents is on the rise. Thus, the percentage of the senior population in the UAE is all set to increase in the coming decades.

In 2018, the government of UAE passed the landmark National Policy for the Elderly. As the first step, the words ‘elderly Emiratis’ were replaced by ‘Senior Emiratis.’ It outlines a comprehensive and integrated care system for the well-being of seniors. The objective is to help seniors lead an active and comfortable lifestyle and have smooth access to all services run by the government for them. It is part of the UAE Government’s UAE Vision 2021 and its Centennial Strategy 2071.

Who is considered a Senior Emirati?

Federal Law No. 9 of 2019 defines any UAE resident aged above 60 years as a senior Emirati. The term ‘Senior Emirati’ was coined officially to acknowledge their commitment towards the UAE and their vast years of experience. Most of the senior citizens have witnessed the formation of the Federation years back. They have the necessary expertise, knowledge, and cultural values that can be used viably by the younger generation for the progression of the Emirate.

Inclusions in the National Policy for the Elderly

There are seven separate components of the new guidelines:

  1. Support healthcare through one-of-a-kind health insurance, new medical facilities with cutting-edge technology, and expertise in aged care.
  2. Take part in civic life effectively.
  3. Involve in the community and lead an active life.
  4. Ensure financial stability.
  5. Ensure safety and security from abuse and violence.
  6. Offer infrastructural support and transportation assistance.
  7. Maintain and enhance the quality of future life.

Which is the official Authority responsible for overseeing that Senior Emiratis get all the senior citizen benefits?

The Community Development Authority or the CDA is the official agency that oversees and manages senior citizen benefits.

Rights of senior Emiratis are:

  • Protection from abuse and violence
  • Independence
  • Optimized environment, work, education, and housing
  • Social care
  • Medical care
  • Confidentiality of information
  • Privacy
  • Preferential treatment

Special benefits that Senior Emiratis enjoy in the UAE

Masarrah Card

Last year, the Ministry of Community Development declared that the Masarrah cards would be issued to senior Emiratis once they automatically reached sixty. The card entails numerous special services like benefits and discounts for seniors. Beneficiaries need to present their ID card to avail such special services in the UAE, ranging from getting deals at hotels, homecare centers, private clinics, and more. The Minister of Community Development announced that senior Emiratis could access such specialized privileges without registering for these services.

Thukher Card

This card is issued by the CDA and applies only to citizens of Dubai. The benefits include:

  • Thukher cardholders are automatically entitled to Masaarah Card subject to the submission of a few documents.
  • Residents are entitled to membership to Al Barsha’s Thukher Social Club on a life-long basis.
  • Depending on the eligibility and requirement of the senior citizens, social benefits up to AED 11,700 will be offered to senior Emiratis without access to regular income.
  • Senior citizens can buy the rechargeable NOL chip card to travel on public transport in Dubai at a 50% discount.
  • Senior citizens with the Thukher card are entitled to free parking permits.
  • Such citizens get priority services with special counters and free parking at the Dubai Police, Dubai Civil Defence, and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigner Affairs.
  • Citizens with the Thuker card get early check-in and check-out facilities with luggage maintenance and cars for drop-off during air travel.
  • They are entitled to access valet parking and VIP services like automatic wheelchairs at the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority office. The office also offers a 50% reduction in move-in registration services fees, discounts in meter testing services, and issuance of the final bill. Seniors also get free subscriber updates from the office.
  • They are entitled to get between 20% and 40% discounts at private clinics and nursing homes. Seniors are also eligible for up to 50% discount on medical and lab tests as part of senior citizen medical benefits at participating hospitals and clinics.
Senior Citizen in UAE

Blue NOL Card

The NOL Blue card applies to all residents of Dubai who are above sixty years old. This card offers travel concessions to expats and locals. The cardholder is eligible for a 50% discount on travel fares while using Dubai Roads and Transport Authority.

Weleef Program

Weleef is a government-backed home care program where senior citizens get the chance to improve their quality of life. The program entails service qualities like mercy, patience, and respect for elders. Weleef aims at providing senior Emiratis a deserving and independent lifestyle. The program is meant for seniors living alone, having no kids, and are living with house help.

The services addressed under the program are:

  • Self-care ensuring personal hygiene
  • Recreational activities to motivate seniors to indulge in hobbies
  • Social services where seniors are made to feel part of a group and interact with their peers
  • Cultural services where senior citizens are updated about cultural things happening at the local and international levels
  • Coordination services where the needs of senior citizens are identified and communicated to concerned officials.
  • Rehabilitation services wherein elders are trained on using electronic gadgets, essential household items, and more.
  • To ensure that seniors are informed and aware of the rights and benefits they are entitled to.
  • To offer an emergency alarm system so that seniors can raise it in case of life-threatening issues with a single button. The police and medical services react to such warnings.

Al-Barsha’s Thukher Social Club

Senior Emiratis get free membership in the Club. The Thuker Social Club offers varied activities and programs that help create a social circle for elders. The purpose is to help them optimize their recreational and leisure time. The Club provides them a viable environment to interact with their peers and learn new things. This way, they stay socially active and psychologically satiated. To be a member of this Club, seniors need to have their Thuker card.

The Social Club has different activities for seniors like:

  • Sports
  • Spa and salon
  • Field trips and other outdoor events
  • Art and craftwork
  • Rehabilitation services.

Intergenerational Communication

This service aims to shorten the communication gap between the elders and the younger generation. CDA offers this program. Through this form of communication, elders get the chance to speak to school and college children about different topics, like:

  • Ramadan
  • Religious Events and their significance
  • National festivals
  • Traditions and customs of the UAE
  • Reasons to respect parents and elders
  • Preserving the nation’s heritage
  • Marriage and its significance

Retirement and Pension services

The Ministry of Community Development has set up different elderly care centers where retired seniors are offered primary health care. They are also given physical therapy and psychological support in selected nursing homes in Ajman.

Also, retired elders are eligible for other benefits like retirement visas and pension when they are 49 years old or when employees complete 20 years of service. Pension facilities are not available for expats.

Government-backed Health and Rehabilitation services

The Ministry of Health and Prevention has formed a database system to keep monitoring health aspects of seniors, like life expectancy, the requirement of home care services, etc. Some of the other facilities include:

  • Mobile clinic services in the districts of Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.
  • Development of various aged care centers and home care programs to provide primary healthcare and psychiatric therapy.
  • Formation of the Red Crescent Authority, an international NGO, to offer numerous programs for elders and organize events where people are made aware of issues of senior citizens.
  • The Abu Dhabi Rehabilitation Centre, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, and Al Tawam Hospital in Abu Dhabi offer specialized care for elders, especially those living alone.
  • The Community Development Authority, Dubai, took initiatives like Elderly Happiness and Weleef to rehabilitate seniors. The Dubai Health Authority offers home care services for seniors in Dubai. It is applicable for expats and residents.

Bottom Line

Evidently, senior Emiratis are treated with great respect. With the National Policy, the government has done its part to express gratitude for senior citizens’ contributions to the UAE’s progress and their role in the country’s future development.