What's New in the Residential Care of the Elderly in the Arab and Islamic World? The Case of Egypt
Towards Human Rights in Residential Care for Older Persons: International Perspectives (Chapter 2, Routledge, London & New York)
23 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2016
Date Written: October 3, 2015
The world’s elderly population is rising quickly in developing countries especially in the Middle Eastern region. Though, in those countries with less progressive economic enlargement and advanced access to health care, it is problematic to cope with the economic, medical, and social needs of the elderly. Real-world solutions to these challenges can be prompted by social awareness of the needs of aging individuals. In the same vein and as the older population grows in numbers, many cultural practices and norms have emerged and played a fundamental role in this area as some cultural practices show that there is no way to change without offending the culture and teachings of that community.
It should be borne in mind that the spiritual and cultural background of Muslims and the teachings of Islamic intellectuals deter several Muslims from sending their older relatives to nursing homes. In other words, this religious belief comes at a price, as Medical Insurance provides funds to cover stays in nursing homes for various family and ageing people, but still these programs do not afford the equivalent level of funding to individuals who live with family members at home, or at least not to all families who need upkeep and care. The Qura’nic provisions explicitly give directions to care for elderly parents. Additionally, the Sunnah (prophetic/hadith) traditions emphasize children’s duty to care for parents as they were cared for as infants. Traditionally, families and religious leaders have interpreted this as a duty to care for parents at home.
Based on this succinct backdrop, this chapter examines what Islamic and Arab positive laws offer for the needs of the older population. Part one examines the Islamic attitude to the care of older people and their essential rights and Part two compares it with some Arab positive laws (various legal systems protecting the elderly in the Arab Middle East countries specifically, Egyptian laws). Part three highlights the international human rights instruments on the care of older people and how fair Islamic law in that field is much appreciated. Finally, it concludes that Islamic law is more than sufficient to generate an inclusive pattern for the care of elderly citizens, but domestic legislation must meet its lofty standards.
Keywords: Elderly, Islamic Law, Social Security, Solidarity, Arab Law, Constitution, Corruption, Human Rights, Labor Law, Inheritance, Family
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