Older persons: measures enabling them to live in dignity

The PACE Committee on Social Affairs called on European governments “to take measures with a view to combating ageism, improving care for older persons and preventing their social exclusion”.

While welcoming the growing trend towards strengthening the protection of older persons’ human rights, the members underlined that negative stereotypes of older persons continue to be “at the root of age discrimination and violence against them, as well as of their isolation and exclusion.”

According to the committee, accessing good-quality health care and long-term care still remains a challenge for many older persons. They are disproportionately affected by isolation and loneliness and are an economically vulnerable group prone to poverty. Furthermore, at least 4 million older persons in Europe experience maltreatment in any one year.

In adopting a draft resolution and a draft recommendation based on a report by Lord George Foulkes (United Kingdom, SOC), the members called, in particular, for older persons to have access to a minimum living income and appropriate housing, as well as affordable health care and long-term care. They stressed the need to involve older persons in care planning and to increase their autonomy, while providing them adequate support if they live at home, as well as for informal caregivers who care for them. The public should also be made aware of the abuse of older persons and relevant data collected on this issue.

In addition, the committee called for active ageing to be promoted by developing age-friendly environments, including places for joint activities between older persons and younger generations with a view to fostering intergenerational ties.

Finally, the committee invited the Committee of Ministers to involve civil society in the examination of the implementation of Recommendation CM / Rec (2014) 2 to Member States on the promotion of the human rights of older persons, and to consider the advisability of drawing-up a legally binding instrument in this field.