Thailand has been aging society since 2005, and will become aged society in 2021, that is, there are elderly people more than 20% of all populations. It is anticipated that in 2031, Thailand will be the super aged society, that is the number of elderly people will be more than 28 % of all populations. An important challenge is to raise awareness about importance of the elderly people in dimension of values, and benefits they bring to the society. How can we handle when entering aging society with quality, that the elderly people are not lonely or isolated, and can realize values in them and their values to the society?
Previously, the government emphasized the caretaking and developing quality of life of the elderly people as a national agenda that required a supportive measure, especially for quality of life and potentials of the elderly people in remote and rural areas. So, the government and private organizations provided help at individual, community and national level to realize importance of entering aging society to bring about community groups and activities to propagate knowledge about health and sanitation, and social and mental adaptation of the elderly people. It includes training to give knowledge about occupation to bring extra income for the elderly people. More than that, it is for the elderly people to meet and talk so that they will not feel lonely with good health and strong body.
It is the same for elderly people in Yupo Village, Yupo Sub-district, Mueang District, Yala Province, that they apply knowledge from training by graduates in local area such as knitting wools, traditional massage. Those graduate workers are local people graduating in bachelor’s degree and voluntarily working for the Ministry of Labor to bring peace among workers, employees, employers and people. They also play an important role in contacting and coordinating with other sectors under supervision of the Ministry of Labor to provide assistance for people or workers who are in troubles in each province.
Yala Employment Office, by graduate workers of Yala Province, plays a main role in supporting housewife group and elderly people in Yupo Village to have additional occupation apart from the main job for their family. Khun Marayah Maha, a graduate worker in Yupo Village, told that the activities of Yupo Village were initiated from surveying needs of people in the community, and it reflected that they had much free time, and thus they gathered to do knitting work in the name of Yupo Village Handicraft and Invention Group with graduate workers teaching how to produce each work and requesting budget from the Employment Office and other government sector such as Office of Community Development or local administrative organizations. Finally, they could produce works for sale as OTOP products and the number of members increased to 20 persons.
As Yupo Village Handicraft and Invention Group is the mixture of middle-aged people which are housewives and elderly people with age at least 60 years, when the members practice knitting, some elderly people have worse eyesight that they cannot do knitting works. So, it comes with an idea to add activities such as herbal massage oil production and relaxing massage in response to the elderly people. Herbal raw materials such as lemongrass, curcumin, turmeric that can be found in local area are processed to be herbal oil for massaging. Apart from their consumption, they can sell the products and use them for providing massage service for customers. This can be extended as a traditional massage service that elderly people in Yupo Village have career and can earn living in their terminal life.
At present, the elderly people group and Yupo Village Handicraft and Invention Group has their office at the bedridden-patient rehabilitation center, Yupo Sub-district, Mueang District, Yala Province, in area of Ban Yupo School. They create products from wools, herbal massage oil and funeral wood flower. The group is committed to set up a massage parlor, and a gym for elderly people in the community. This success is seeing problems and emphasis from local sectors including public and private organization as well as local people to help solving problems for local elderly people to live their life happily with good physical and mental health and income. It will be a part of clearing all problems in local area and it will truly be the quality aging society.