Sharjah Museums Authority commits to supporting older visitors by signing up to elderly care document Sharjah Museums Authority commits to supporting older visitors by signing up to elderly care document
    ‘Commitment to the Care of the Elderly’ will increase SMA’s engagement with older members of society
    Program is in line with Sharjah’s membership of WHO’s ‘Age-friendly Cities’ network

    Sharjah Museums Authority (SMA) has officially signed up to the new 'Commitment to the Care of the Elderly' document as part of its mission to make all its museums, events and community activities accessible to all members of the UAE community.
    This document ties in with Sharjah’s membership of the World Health Organization’s global ‘Age-friendly Cities’ network, which will adopt international standards for age friendly cities and improve the accessibility of SMA’s museums for citizens and residents aged over 60 and to increase engagement with elderly members of society.
    The signing is in line with the vision of H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, that aims to make Sharjah an ideal environment for older people through the creation of safe, comfortable and welcoming spaces that expertly and efficiently cater to the needs of elderly people.
    The new 'Commitment to the Care of the Elderly' document complements the work already being done by SMA as part of its year-round program to encourage older members of society to visit its museums.
    SMA’s established policy of engagement with senior citizens successfully prioritizes the comfort and the needs of older visitors through a range of practical programs and strategies.
    Limiting the amount of time senior citizens spend standing in line or waiting to access exhibits and providing seating in its galleries, exhibition halls and close to artefacts on display are some of the simple but effective ways SMA staff improve the satisfaction and enjoyment of elderly visitors each and every day.
    As part of their daily duties, staff are trained to recognize and respond to any potential issues that could negatively impact the comfort of older visitors, with wheelchairs, walking aids available wherever necessary.
    Also provided in all museums is a ‘Museum Guide’ booklet, which is written in large text for the benefit of visually impaired visitors, along with hearing aids for members of the public with hearing issues.
    SMA staff, including mentors, receptionist, visitors' service supervisors, event organizers, librarians and educators, all undergo regular training in the latest best practices in order to deliver the highest standards of service to older visitors.
    Staff interact with older visitors to help to familiarize them with the wide range of exhibits and events at SMA’s museums and to encourage greater engagement with elderly members of society.
    The new 'Commitment to the Care of the Elderly' document also complements SMA’s ongoing program of work to support older artists who are active in the artistic community by incorporating their extensive range of skills into exhibits and events.
    In 2016 Sharjah joined the ‘Age-friendly Cities’ network, becoming the first city in the Arab region to demonstrate its commitment to the health and well-being of elderly members of society.
    The international effort aims to aid cities in developing strategies that boost the health and well-being of older people and to encourage ‘active aging’ to enhance the quality of life of citizens as they grow older.
    Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums Authority, said: “A love of art, history, culture is not limited by one’s age, instead this process of discovery and learning continues to grow and develop throughout a person’s lifetime.
    Signing up to the 'Commitment to the Care of the Elderly' document is in line with SMA’s mission that all our museums are community spaces and should always be accessible to everyone, from children to the elderly members of our society.”
    For more information, please visit www.sharjahmuseums.ae

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