Editorial: Countering ageism-A A +A
Sunday, October 6, 2013
THE “M” word surfaces in conversations usually as an explanation for the unpredictable mood swings of ageing women.
Meant as a joke or said with partial seriousness, these common perceptions of menopause expose how the public continues to misunderstand menopause and by extension, ageing.
That these misconceptions persist underscores the relevance of observing the Elderly Filipino Week (EFW) on Oct. 1-7 and World Menopause Day on Oct. 19.
Signed by then President Fidel V. Ramos, Proclamation 470 decreed on Sept. 26, 1994 the annual EFW celebration to surface the concerns of older persons.
This year’s Linggo ng Nakakatandang Pilipino focuses on the theme, “Pagtulungan isulong benepisyo’t karapatan tungo sa maginhawa at masayang pamayanan.”
The Expanded Senior Citizens Act 2010 grants a monthly social pension, discounts on medicine purchases, and other privileges.
Yet, with the escalating costs of maintenance medicine and family dynamics dictating the elderly’s support of their children and grandchildren, financial security eludes many.
Aid given by some local government units (LGUs) alleviates the plight of senior citizens. For instance, Cebu City grants P10,000 to each senior citizen; Mandaue City, P1,000.
Thus, it would be good news for older citizens to know what has happened to the plan of the Cebu Province to grant them financial assistance.
Last July 28, Sun.Star Cebu’s Flornisa M. Gitgano reported that Provincial Board Member Raul “Yayoy” Alcoseba pushed for an ordinance that will provide cash assistance and medical discounts for the elderly in the province.
Alcoseba, chairman of the committee on senior citizens and public affairs, observed that such benefits will help cover medical expenses, which he considers the “most important concern of the elderly.”
LGUs must allocate more funds to initiate or sustain other programs promoting the health of the elderly. The Cebu City Health Office started giving last September free immunization against pneumonia, which is a major cause of death among the elderly and young children.
This free immunization against pneumonia should ideally be given to the 60,000 registered with the Office of Senior Citizen Affairs (Osca) in Cebu City, as well as in other LGUs.
Signifying the end of menstruation and the reproductive period, menopause has a significant impact on women, particularly their health.
Aside from the other issues that the public needs to understand about this stage, the Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society (Pogs) of Cebu Province reiterated the message that menopause is “‘not the end of the road’ despite the many diseases related to it, such as cancer,” reported Sun.Star Cebu’s Bernadette A. Parco last Sept. 30.
The International Menopause Society will launch a campaign on cancer awareness.
During a Sept. 28 press conference, Pogs members emphasized the need for women to maintain a healthy lifestyle, keep a monogamous relationship, and undergo screening tests like the Pap smear and the acetic acid test for early detection of cervical cancer.
To encourage pre-vention, the government and other stakeholders must address the high cost of screening tests, which influence many women of limited resources to ignore midlife symptoms and increase their risk to late detection of diseases like cancer.
Acting on a report that cancer is the third leading cause of deaths in the country, Sen. Grace Poe proposed through Senate Bill 1283, or “An Act to Assist Indigent Cancer Patients and Their Families,” the creation of a Cancer Assistance Fund to provide medicine and treatment assistance to indigent cancer patients.
Aside from cancer, communicable and cardiovascular diseases cause the highest deaths in the country. Menopause increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, reported Socorro Guliano, Sonny Agustin, Nanette Lee, and Linda S. Adair in their study, which was published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (Faseb).
The Faseb Journal study recommended that “women should be cautioned of the potential increase in cholesterol levels associated with the onset of menopause.”
Even beyond Oct. 19, World Menopause Day, women should be educated and assisted in safeguarding and maintaining their health.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 07, 2013.