La Voz de Galicia – September 30, 2022 →

Cristina PatoTomorrow celebrates the International Day of Older Persons, a day appointed by the United Nations in 1990. And the truth is that it is complex to think about how things stood thirty years ago regarding age and how they stand now. Without a doubt, there are as many ways of growing older as there are people in the world, and each person carries years as best they can, according to the circumstances that surround one. Some are dependent and others independent; some have families and others don’t; some grow older at home and others in nursing facilities…

But when two years ago Amnesty International issued the report, “Abandoned: The lack of protection and discrimination against older people in care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain,” it illustrated quite clearly the institutional ageism of our reality. We cannot forget that in 2020 there was a part in our society who was denied the right to go to a hospital, literally locking it in that complex and unequal web that are the homes for the elderly. Amnesty International denounced “five violations of human rights: health, life, non-discrimination, private and family life, and a dignified death,” and to this day continued asking for accountability for those responsible of making those decisions.

According to the data provided by the UN, there are currently more people over 60 than under 5, and points out that all countries have to prepare at a social and public health level for that demographic change. And precisely one of the goals of this international day is “to highlight the need for a legally binding tool for the rights of older persons (…) to form a society for all ages.” I hope to grow old and live to see it.

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