Pensioners on Tuesday called for the immediate implementation of the national health service, the reduction of drug prices, the expansion of services, the development of a new national action plan for the elderly, the strengthening of the social welfare services to support families in economic difficulties and the promotion of events and programmes to ensure a better quality of life and well-being for the elderly.
These needs were expressed at the 18th annual Parliament of Elders at the House of Representatives.
Opening the session with the motto ‘To the inalienable rights of the elderly’s quality of life and their health’, acting House President Adamos Adamou said the points raised had to be reflected, discussed and if possible resolved.
Particular reference was made by Adamou to the suggestion “to prepare a comprehensive scientific study which proposes concrete measures to prepare for retirement by utilising elderly people, because unfortunately there is no such preparation, leading to isolation and the non-utilisation of accumulated knowledge and experience.”
He stressed the readiness of the House to take new actions and assist and promote in legislation to alleviate the problems of the elderly to the extent permitted by its commitments and obligations. “The Parliament and its committees will always be open to our senior citizens,” he noted.
In his speech vice president of the Pancyprian Coordination Council Elias Demetriou appealed to the state, the House of Representatives, the various bodies and more generally civil society to lend an open ear to “these simple requests of our elderly,” adding they have every right to the same quality of life as other members of society.
Under a plan for care aid some 2,000 senior citizens received a total of €1,262,000 in 2015, an amount equivalent to approximately 20 per cent of the total amount given to all nationwide social care programmes, Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou said addressing the Parliament. The money was handed out to NGOs and local authorities for the operation of 67 programmes aimed at catering for the needs of elder people in day centres or at home.
“The House of Elders is undoubtedly an important institution. Through this institution senior citizens have the opportunity to request an immediate update on issues affecting them, receive answers to problems that concern them, and to propose their own suggestions and recommendations. It is an opportunity to hear from you.”
“The introduction of the guaranteed minimum income aims, inter alia, at ensuring the quality of life of elderly people, so our fellow citizens who do not have access to essential goods and services for their livelihoods,” Emilianidou said.
Speaking on behalf of Health Minister Giorgos Pamboridis, Director of the Health Services Christina Yiannakis said the national health service will solve the problem of accessibility to services.
She made a special mention to the programme applied for the alleviation of waiting lists, saying that it had been implemented nationwide, and from May 13 to September 30, some 6,308 patients had been sent to the private sector.
As for the price of drugs, Yiannakis said prices for approximately 2,280 products had dropped by 23 per cent from 2014 and for another 5,500 products by 11 per cent.
Volunteer commissioner Yiannis Yiannaki expressed the view that elderly people had knowledge which is a treasure for society that should be exploited. In addition, surveys show that when elder members of society are active their mental and physical abilities improve by almost 40 per cent.