Respect for the elderly as an equal part of society
The International Day of Older Persons, 1 October, has been highlighting the challenges of the elderly for the past 30 years. This year, it brings to the fore the problems faced by the elderly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The disease affects elderly citizens the most, and the pandemic also puts them at greater risk of poverty.
There are currently almost 700 million people over the age of 60 worldwide. At the beginning of this year, 424,000 people or 20 percent of the population in Slovenia was above 65 years old. Due to the pandemic, the elderly around the world are very afraid and suffer, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres pointed out in a message on the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons. In addition to the imminent threat the disease poses to the elderly and the increased risk of poverty due to the pandemic, the likelihood that they will be more discriminated against and isolated in the new circumstances has also increased, he added.
During the novel coronavirus epidemic in Slovenia, homes for the elderly found themselves in a particularly difficult situation. The lack of personal contact, experts explained, increased the risk of mental health problems in the elderly, especially depression and anxiety.
Among the reasons why homes for the elderly found themselves in trouble was staff shortages, which has already been addressed by the Government with intervention measures set to install about 550 additional jobs over the next two years. The Government has provided EUR 29 million for this purpose. The Government's five legislative packages to control the consequences of the epidemic are aimed, first and foremost, at helping vulnerable groups. The fifth anti-corona package therefore includes a number of measures that are important from the viewpoint of preventing and curbing the spread of COVID-19 in homes for the elderly.