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Economic problems facing the elderly

I was present at the forum organised by Caritas Malta Helpage Unit regarding the economic aspect of the elderly as part of the programme on the occasion of the World Day of the Elderly celebrated on October 1.

I wish to express my appreciation to the organisers and to the members of the panel. Moses Azzopardi very ably introduced and chaired the meeting while Joe Troisi and Helen Borg Bonnici gave very valid inputs, which the audience appreciated.

The issues regarding longevity, mobility, institutionalisation, medical care and expenses, which the elderly have to foot, and the pension situation in Malta were among the points addressed by the panel. The issue of the elderly as an economic resource was also tackled. MPs Ciarlo Bonnici, representing the government, and Tony Agius Decelis, on behalf of the opposition, also addressed the audience. Caritas Malta director Mgr Victor Grech concluded the forum.

Members from the floor interacted with observations regarding services the elderly are receiving in various institutions, the issue of mandatory retiring age and the value of occupational therapy for the elderly.

It was made evident that a good percentage of our elderly may be living in financial straits.

While appreciating the validity of the light this forum threw on the situation of the elderly in Malta, I appeal primarily to the state and to the various bodies responsible for the better welfare of the elderly to act in good time to enhance the quality of life our dear elderly deserve.

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