EU action needed to fight elder abuse and ensure dignity in old age
Brussels, 29 November 2011
EU conference "Ageing in Dignity: Designing effective strategies
for tackling elder abuse"
EU action needed to fight elder abuse and ensure
dignity in old age
"Elder abuse and neglect can no longer be tolerated. Time has come for the EU to empower Member States and stakeholders to work together to address this chronic failure of our social protection systems which can only deteriorate further in today's context of crisis if nothing is done to protect the growing number of frail and dependent older people" said Anne-Sophie Parent, Secretary General of AGE Platform Europe at EU conference "Ageing in Dignity: Designing effective strategies for tackling elder abuse" held in Brussels on 28 November.
The conference organized by the European Commission aimed to take stock of the achievement of the various EU initiatives that have been taken so far to fight elder abuse across EU Member States and discuss what needs and could be done at national and European level to protect the dignity and well-being of older people.
Welcoming the dense and multi-level discussions, Marjan Sedmak, President of AGE, stressed that "the outcomes of the EU projects that were presented at the conference are very useful to support national and local action to promote the wellbeing and dignity of older people".
In today’s context of demographic change and economic crisis major reforms are introduced in the field of long-term care (LTC). Public authorities outsource more and more LTC services and older people are asked to cover an increasing part of the cost of their LTC. “Both public authorities and service users want to be sure that the money they spend on LTC will deliver quality and “safe” elder care as well as an adequate support to their informal carers”, concluded Anne-Sophie Parent.
To support this, AGE asked the European Commission to foster the development of aEuropean quality framework for long-term care which would set a series of key principles or standards for LTC, and to start working on a EU recognition of care assistant’s qualification, an EU carer’s leave directive to support informal carers; and to support the work the UN open-ended working group on the rights of older people.
The fight against elder abuse is a key priority for AGE members. After developing a European Charter of the rights and responsibilities of older people in need of long-term care and assistance and its accompanying guide as part of the EU funded EUSTACEA project, AGE is now coordinating the two-year running project “WeDO: A European Partnership for the Wellbeing and Dignity of Older people”, which gathers 18 partners coming from 12 different member states who are committed to work together to learn from each other and improve the quality of their LTC services.
The WeDO partners are developing a European Quality framework for LTC based on the key principles that were adopted by the EPSCO Council for social services of general interest. More than 100 good practices have been gathered to illustrate how these key principles can be implemented in practice. The WeDO partners have set up national coalitions who are developing national strategies for the wellbeing and dignity of older people.
- On the conference:http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?langId=en&catId=88&eventsId=389&furtherEvents=yes
- On WeDo: www.age-platform.eu/en/wellbeing<http://www.age-platform.eu/en/wellbeing
- WeDo website: http://www.wedo-partnership.eu/