Elderly care from the perspective of intersectionality

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Liliany Mirelly Bezerra Alves, a first-year medical student at the State University of Rio Grande do Norte – UERN, Brazil. She is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Faced with the inequality and discrimination that a human being can suffer in access to a right, such as health, the term Intersectionality emerges as a way to understand this situation and to elaborate ways to combat it, so that obstacles are analyzed under different contexts and dimensions, and not only by a single point of view. As for care, it is about providing society with access to health services from a perspective of equity and justice, without privileges of class, schooling, gender or age.

The latter, age, is an example of how this happens, since the person with advanced age is more susceptible to the development of diseases and comorbidities from this age group, besides having to deal with the structural and social obstacles that surround the access of the elderly to health care. Some examples of obstacles are the lack of family support to lead them to consultations, the scarcity of resources to finance treatments and the inaccessibility to health services. In this context, it is essential a network of professional and family support that help them in all social spheres of their lives and go against these difficulties.

In this sense, with advancing age, it is necessary that the increase in the supply of health care advances proportionally, since it will be necessary a support network directed to the care of specific needs of longevity, especially in a broad and intersectional way. It is important that regular contact with professionals such as geriatricians, psychologists and physiotherapists is easily made possible in the daily life of the old person, so that physical and mental well-being is, in fact, guaranteed. Therefore, difficulties such as the distance from access to services and the collection of exorbitant values need to be combated, since they promote a locational and socioeconomic inequality.

Therefore, it is important that the health service of a country is able to provide the elderly with a network of support and care taking into account the specific demands of patients over 60 years old next to intersectionality. Not only considering the health-disease situation of each one, but also offering the chance to obtain quality of life at this age, so that aging process occurs in the best possible way.

Thus, therapeutic health centers need to be well distributed in the national territory. Families need to act directly by offering support, in addition to the fact that access to these services should be easily granted to the various social classes present in a country, promoting that quality of life and access to care remain being rights of a citizen and not just a privilege of a particular group or social class.

Aging is not a disease to be fought, but rather a phase of life that must be experienced in the best possible way, which means having access to all the care and attention that are demanded in longevity, in a fair and equal way.

References

LUIZ MELLO ; ELIANE GONÇALVES. Diferença e interseccionalidade: notas para pensar práticas em saúde. Revista Cronos, v. 11, n. 2, 2012. Disponível em: <https://periodicos.ufrn.br/cronos/article/view/2157&gt;. Acesso em: 23 Jul. 2021.

SCHENKER, Miriam ; COSTA, Daniella Harth da. Avanços e desafios da atenção à saúde da população idosa com doenças crônicas na Atenção Primária à Saúde. Ciência & Saúde Coletiva, v. 24, n. 4, p. 1369–1380, 2019. Disponível em: <https://www.scielo.br/j/csc/a/fjgYFRhV7s4Tgqvdf5LKBDj/?lang=pt&gt;. Acesso em: 23 Jul. 2021.

About the author

Liliany Mirelly Bezerra Alves is a first-year medical student at the State University of Rio Grande do Norte – UERN. She is a trainee of the local committee of IFMSA Brazil UERN, director of research of the Academic League of Applied Human Anatomy and participates in the Academic Center of the college. She believes that the democratization of access to knowledge is indispensable for the construction of a better society.

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