The Fate of the Elderly Posyandu During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Friday, 10/07/2020YogyakartaHendri Setyo Nugroho, S.H., M.I.P.
Time is rolling past the fourth month since the Covid-19 case was first discovered in Indonesia. Based on data collected, the highest percentage of deaths due to Covid-19 in Indonesia was experienced by the age group ≥ 60 years. As we know, the elderly are one of the vulnerable and easily exposed groups of Covid-19.
Then how does the elderly posyandu play a role in the middle of a pandemic? The government is currently trying to break the chain of transmission of the Corona virus. The call for physical distancing, work, study and worship at home continues to be echoed. All activities that create crowds should be avoided including elderly posyandu activities. The role of posyandu elderly through cadres is very important to always monitor the condition of the elderly.
Although the Posyandu for the elderly was temporarily inactive, the role of cadres is still ongoing. The cadre's role is to provide information to the elderly about healthy living behavior and maintaining health during the pandemic. This information is given when the cadre meets with the elderly on the street or in the mosque. The cadres also distributed masks to the elderly, both of which were bought from posyandu’s fund and from the help of other institutions. Another important role is cooperation between stakeholders, such as with the RT. Because the coverage area is small and close together, it will be easier to monitor the condition of the elderly.
Then do the elderly feel the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic? The social impact is felt by the elderly in the absence of an elderly posyandu, which in turn reduces psychological health. Elderly Posyandu activities not only maintain physical health to always be in shape, but it is also a place to meet with peers, the elderly can communicate with each other. During this pandemic they felt lonely because they could not meet each other.
In addition to social impacts, the economic impact is also felt by the elderly. As experienced by Mbah Marto (70) who usually sells rice at Yogyakarta City Gede Market. But during the pandemic he is no longer dared to go to the market. He only sells rice at home which results in reduced income. The same story is also experienced by many other elderly who are in the same fate with Mbah Marto.
Another impact that is no less important is the low level awareness of the elderly to protect themselves during this pandemic. A concrete example is seen when the elderly do the activity outside their home, many do not use masks. And a lot of them still ask why they have to wear a mask, why they have to stay at home.
Elderly families themselves cannot convey information clearly, many elderly do not watch the news on television, posyandu cadres cannot play a large role in this situation. This proves that the information they received about Covid-19 is still lacking while they are vulnerable to contracting it.
What needs to be done to help the elderly affected by Covid-19?
The elderly are the groups that need special attention. In accordance with the mandate of the "Guidelines for the Protection of the Elderly" by the KPPPA, the role of the elderly posyandu cadre at the community level is needed to help overcome the problems faced by the elderly during the Covid-19 pandemic by involving and cooperating across sectors.
Posyandu cadres hope for assistance in the form of groceries and nutritious food. Elderly is still lacking attention, there is no specific assistance targeting them. Other assistance received by the elderly is cloth masks, basic necessities, hand sanitizers. However, this assistance has not yet been received by all the elderly in posyandu. It is hoped that if it distributes assistance the village government can work together with Posyandu cadres in its distribution.
It is also important to consider how the elderly can get precise and clear information about Covid-19. According to posyandu cadres, they should be given information from competent sources, such as officers from the puskesmas. But in a pandemic like this, health workers already have many tasks to deal with patients at the forefront. One wise step that can be taken is to document information about Covid-19 from various trusted sources such as those published by the relevant ministries.
The village government can help coordinate documentation, then convey it through youth clubs, RT, RW, or posyandu cadres. Cadres with extensive networking will convey information to the elderly. Also involve families and the community to actively explain information about Covid-19 to the elderly. In line with the general guidelines for dealing with Covid-19 issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, ensure that the elderly obtain awareness and personal protection related to Covid-19.
* The article was first published in Bahasa, in the rubric "INSPIRATION FOR POLICY" SKH Kedaulatan Rakyat, Friday Edition July 10, 2020.