On the occasion of the World Day of Older Persons on 1 October, Ombudsman Peter Svetina reiterates that the various bodies and institutions that deal with older people must always keep in mind the principle of Nothing About Us Without Us. "Older people should be involved in decisions about their rights and lifestyles, not patronised under the guise of reduced psycho-physical abilities or other handicaps. By patronising and disrespecting them, we diminish their social power, deny them their status and rights, and infringe on their dignity," stresses the Ombudsman.
It is important to design structural measures that ameliorate the unequal position of older people in society and allow them to be treated more fairly than other groups in society. "We have waited more than two decades for the Long-Term Care Act, but it still falls short of guaranteeing the human rights of older people and people with disabilities, as the Ombudsman's comments and proposals have largely been ignored and rejected. It is urgent to amend social legislation and not just wait for the Long-Term Care Act to solve everything," stresses the Ombudsman.
Long-term care has been our reality for many years. The answers are right before our eyes, and many of them lie in community care. For this to be sufficiently effective, there is a need to invest in staff, to regulate norms and to enable older people to live in dignity in their own homes for as long as they wish. It is up to them to decide the extent to which they need protection and care to ensure that they continue to retain their quality of life, stresses the Ombudsman.
In a developed society like Slovenia, we should not hear stories of loneliness in later life, nor stories of poverty, and especially not stories of violence against the elderly. No one wants to spend the autumn of their life away from their loved ones, without social and health support, and they certainly do not want to be buried under a different name. That is why the state, with all its services, must always take an active and responsible role in caring for the elderly, and it must also be the responsibility of all of us who live alongside them. "Taking care of the elderly today means, after all, taking care of ourselves tomorrow," says Ombudsman Peter Svetina.