’Gozo Age Concern’ and Alternattiva Demokratika ask for Senior Citizens’ Care homes and adequate services in Gozo
The Gozitan NGO, “Gozo Age Concern” (GAC) and Alternattiva Demokratika (AD) - The Green Party have made a joint appeal to the authorities to set up Senior Citizens’ Care homes in Gozo and other services related to the Care of the Elderly.
In a joint press conference, Prof. Arnold Cassola, Alternattiva Demokratika Chairperson, myself as the AD spokesperson for Gozo, and Rev. Fr. Mario Cassar from GAC stressed that in Gozo over 21.5% of the inhabitants are senior citizens over the age of 60 and amount to over 7000 people.
Rev. Fr. Cassar from Nadur pointed out that, as opposed to the fifteen private and government run care homes in Malta, Gozo does not have even one care home despite the high rate of older citizens. Fr Cassar stated “The male geriatric ward and the female “Dar Sant’Anna” at the Gozo General Hospital, have only communal wards and therefore do not qualify as Care homes in this day and age.”
Arnold Cassola, Alternattiva Demokratika Chairperson, added: “The ageing population of Malta and Gozo is on the increase and in about 20 years time, nearly 2 out of 3 Maltese and Gozitans are expected to be over the age of 60. It is therefore important that elderly Gozitans have access to modern Care Homes offering single rooms with en suite facilities without having to be relocated to Malta.”
Yvonne Ebejer Arqueros, AD candidate for the European elections, pointed out that it is laudable that the Dominican and Carmelite nuns house around forty female senior citizens who are not bed ridden, however these religious homes are only equipped with communal dormitories, without any real privacy and organized socio-cultural activities due to the lack of staff and adequate resources.
During this joint press statement I concluded that: “Gozitans know well the difficulties of double isolation during their active working life. Retired people should not have to worry about their future care. A number of modern Care Homes in Gozo offering long term and respite care are a must as well as Day Centres for those senior citizens who are still independent. Other community services for senior citizens such as ‘adopt a Granny scheme’ should also be explored. Respite centres during the day for those senior citizens, who are still autonomous and able to sleep at their home, apart from being care centres for permanent guests, who are no longer autonomous and need more care and attention should also be encouraged”.
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