​​​​​​​​​​Older adults, those aged 65 or above, make important contributions to society as family members, volunteers, and active participants in the workforce. The elderly category receives great attention within Saudi society. This is according to the commandments of the Islamic Law (Sharia) and the specific values, customs, and traditions of the Saudi society that render the elderly in a position of appreciation, attention, and care. In this regard, the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) pays attention to such a category from an organizational and historical approach. 

In other words, the Basic Law of Governance stipulates that the State guarantees the rights of the citizen and the family thereof, in the event of emergency, illness, disability and old age. In addition, the  Social Security Law supports institutions and individuals to contribute to charitable work. However, KSA is one of the countries with a low percentage of elderly people. The percentage of persons aged 65 and over has reached 2.4% of the total population for the year 2019, according to the  General Authority for Statistics Report. 

Healthcare in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia:
The  Saudi Health Care Law provides for comprehensive, integrated health care to all residents, in a fair and accessible way. And the Ministry of Health (MOH) provides an integrated network of health care services covering all regions of the Kingdom. MOH, in cooperation with the district councils, determines the locations, levels and need for these services, according to the geographical and demographic patterns of diseases prevailing in the region. Moreover, the Ministry provides health care services in its medical facilities to citizens free of charge, according to the National Transformation Program in the health sector,  which works to meet the sector’s needs.

Health Facilities in the Kingdom:
All citizens and residents benefit from the health care services provided by MOH. Visitors also benefit from these services during the Hajj and Umrah seasons through the network of health facilities, system which include medical cities, specialist hospitals, and primary care centers. 

Health Promotion:
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has realized the increasing number of older adults due to the advancement of medical science and health awareness, and the improvement in health care and standard of living. Therefore, the Kingdom has spared no effort to develop its health, social and economic plans, in order to face such phenomenon and meet the increasing needs of the elderly to ensure and promote their health. Moreover, the Kingdom has recognized that aging is not a disease, but a natural biological process that could not be avoided. Thus, it has paid attention to the health problems faced by older adults, to avoid some diseases or delay the many types of weakness and disability associated with old age. It has also sought to provide integrated health services that meet the needs of the elderly and to coordinate with the relevant authorities such as the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development to improve their health.

It is worth mentioning that the Ministry of Health (MOH) adopts E-Health systems with the aim of improving and planning healthcare delivery within the National E-Health Strategy. This is to achieve its innovative vision of eHealth: (a safe and efficient health system, built on patient-centered care, oriented by standards, and enabled by eHealth). This positively affects the lives of patients inside health facilities, enhances the services of MOH, and provides several Benefits to Patients and older adults.  

Stemming from the Ministry's instructions on the necessity of caring for patients, and providing all services and facilities to them, the (Patient Experience Measurement Program) seeks to achieve the highest levels of satisfaction for patients and their families in MOH and its health facilities. Thus, the Awlawia card​ has been invented. The Card is an initiative by the Patient Experience Center; it aims to facilitate and expedite procedures and services provided to some groups, including older adults inside health facilities, and to remove all obstacles that prevent access to health services.

Additionally, and to activate Patients’ Rights, MOH provides a number of services to its registered Home Health Care patients. Furthermore, the Elderly Care Program in Primary Health Care Centers provides the services required for older adults. 

In the same context, older adults benefit from the E-Services provided by MOH, such as the Treatment Orders Inquiry Service and (Sehhaty​) Service.  

Patient Rights and Responsibilities:
Out of MOH’s belief in patients’ right to be empowered and involved in decisions that support and improve the services provided to them, it pays thorough attention to clarify patients' rights and responsibilities towards health facilities in the Patient Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. This takes place in cooperation with the concerned bodies in the field of health care services, taking into consideration the human, social, and national rights and duties guaranteed by the law for individuals. The aim is to improve the level of services provided, increase patients' confidence in health facilities, and solidify the health and humanitarian bonds of service providers and recipients at all levels. MOH has also provided patients with Complaint Forms to file when suffering negligence while receiving health services.

On the other hand, the awareness platform for promoting (Elderly Health) addresses significant topics such as: 

The Services provided: 

  1. «Sehhaty»​ Platform: It is MOH's unified platform that provides several health services to all individuals; in terms of reviewing their health data, as well as achieving an integrated health strategy; thus leading to a vibrant and healthy society. Also, the platform provides users in the Kingdom with a wide range of health services to facilitate the provision of integrated healthcare services to individuals. ​
  2. 937-Service : It provides medical consultations via voice call. 

Where are the services provided?

  • PHCs, through the interactive map, from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.
  • Mental health hospitals in the Kingdom's regions and governorates. 
  • Emergency Health Care Centers, through on-duty healthcare centers - 24 hours.
  • Hospitals' emergency departments, through the interactive map - 24 hours.