Brussels, 13 June 2013
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
15 June 2013
The EU should adopt an EU Quality framework for long-term care services to help combat elder abuse and ensure a dignified old age to all
The United Nations (UN) has designated June 15 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. AGE Platform Europe takes this opportunity to call on the EU to take action to combat all forms of abuse and discrimination against older people through adopting a European quality framework for long-term care services.
“Human dignity is inviolable. Age and dependency cannot be the grounds for restrictions on any inalienable human right and civil liberty acknowledged by international standards and embedded in democratic constitutions”, states the European Charter of Rights and Responsibilities of older people in need of care and assistance resulting from the UE-funded Eustacea Project (2010). However, according to a report published by WHO Europe in 2011, 2.7% of older people have experienced mistreatment and abuse, i.e. around 4 million older people. Dignified ageing is even more a challenge in today’s context of public austerity measures which result in reduction of social protection coverage and an increase of social isolation. In such circumstances, the risk of elder abuse or neglect will increase if nothing is done to improve the quality of long-term care and support provided to the growing numbers of older people in need of care and assistance, the majority of whom are older women, to ensure everyone can enjoy a dignified end of life.
AGE welcomes the joint initiative of the Regional Office for Europe of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the European Commission to organize a conference on Preventing Elder abuse and Neglect on 17-18 June 2013 in Brussels to mark the UN Day. The event will be a good opportunity to take stock and discuss various initiatives taken to combat elder abuse across the EU, notably by promoting independent living and quality of eldercare at home and in residential settings.
In the framework of the Staff Working Document on Long Term Care, presenting challenges and policy options of the Social Investment Package launched in February, AGE also calls on the European Commission and the Social Protection Committee to:
- Develop and adopt a voluntary European Quality Framework for long-term care inspired by the WeDO EU quality framework (see www.wedo-partnership.eu). This should then be adopted by the EPSCO Council as a key element of their Active Ageing principles and legacy of the European Year on Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations 2012;
- Use the EU Quality framework for long-term care in the National Social Reports to report on the extent to which the existing national long-term care services respect these principles, and support the appropriate authorities in member states to develop national outcome-oriented standards for long-term care in line with the European quality framework for LTC;
- Initiate peer reviews and thematic seminars on a regular basis on the issue of quality of long-term care and fight against elder abuse to enable exchange of experience and good practice on how to implement the European Quality framework for long-term care services in different national context and for different target groups.
To facilitate the sharing of initiatives on the fight against elder abuse and for good quality care, AGE is working together with theWeDO partnership, a group of stakeholders organised in national/regional/local coalitions to promote the EU quality framework in long-term care services and the European Charter of the rights and responsibilities of older people in need of long-term care. The WeDO partnership is launching a communication campaign on 15 June to raise awareness of what can be done to promote dignity in old age. You can follow this on:www.wedo-partnership.eu/new/15-june-2013-wedo-get-mobilized-world-elder-abuse-awareness-day.
$— European Quality framework for long-term care services (WeDO, 2012)