Free dementia screening for the elderly proposed

A CEBU City councilor has sponsored an ordinance creating a dementia screening and intervention program for the elderly.

It is only right that the City should address the mental health of its constituents, who are members of the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (Osca), said Councilor Alvin Dizon, the ordinance’s author.

As of June 2019, there were 103,000 senior citizens registered in Osca.

Members will not be required to undergo a dementia screening, but those who want to avail themselves of the program will have to present either a written or verbal consent.

If the senior citizen is not present, an authorized person must bring his or her Osca identification card.

According to the ordinance, “Should the senior citizen cannot personally secure the referral slip on account of sickness, disability or other valid circumstances or conditions, his or her representative may secure the same upon presentation of the Osca ID of the senior citizen.”

During the screening, senior citizens will have to present their Osca ID to a Department of Health (DOH)-accredited facility.

A senior citizen who is diagnosed with dementia will have the discretion to avail himself or herself of the intervention provided by the City Health Office, Osca and the barangay where he or she resides.

In formulating and developing the intervention programs, the City Health Office and Osca will coordinate and establish cooperation with related government agencies and nongovernment offices to provide a comprehensive intervention program to address dementia.

The ordinance commissions the City Health Office and Osca to formulate rules and regulations for the effective implementation of the ordinance.

The ordinance is anchored on Republic Act 11036, or the Mental Health Act, that affirms the basic right of the Filipinos to mental health and mental health services.

The Cebu City Council referred the ordinance to the committee on laws for review. (JJL)


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