AGE views on the right of older people in need of care to live independently

Following a call for consultation, AGE presented its views and recommendations to the UNCRPD Committee about realising the right to independent living for older people with disabilities.

The UNCRPD Committee is in the process of elaborating guidelines on how Member States can put into effect UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

This provision deals with living independently, and recognises the right of persons with disabilities to enjoy full inclusion and participation in their communities – including by choosing their own place of residence, being adequately supported to live independently and being given equal access to a range of general services such as education, transport, health care, housing and employment .

In its response to the Committee, AGE highlighted some everyday examples of common difficulties faced by older people when it comes to living independently: such as social isolation, structural abuse and ageism. We underlined that age-based inequalities can lead to loss of autonomy, poorer or fewer options of services, differing levels of support, abusive practices and a lack of preventive measures for promotion of health and quality of life. We also focused on the importance of awareness-raising, because many older people and Member States remain unaware of how the rights of older people with functional limitations can be protected under the UNCRPD, and how they can be involved in the implementation and monitoring of the Conventions.

AGE’s key recommendations to the UNCRPD Committee include:

  • Recognising the systemic, multifaceted, structural discrimination faced by older people with functional limitations in the context of the right to independent living;
  • Raising awareness of the relevance of the UNCRPD among older people’s advocates, with a view to increasing their participation in monitoring its implementation;
  • Ensuring an equal application of disability rights across the life course, fighting ageist stereotypes and constructing disability in a manner that does not justify the exclusion of older people;
  • Encouraging States to systematically report on the barriers faced by older people with disabilities;
  • Providing legal clarity and policy guidance for duty bearers, human rights practitioners and self-advocates on the specific human rights challenges in the intersection of old age and disability, including through a General Comment on the rights of older persons with disabilities.

With the objective of producing a set of guidelines in the form of a General Comment, the UNCRPD Committee will also hold a day of general discussion on 19th April to consider stakeholder views. AGE will participate in this discussion and will promote the views and experiences of older people with functional limitations by interacting in the debate and making recommendations to the Committee.

Click here to read AGE position paper on on Article 19 of the UNCRPD

For more information you may contact Nena Georgantzi, Policy Officer,

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