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150 new beds each year needed for elderly in homes - Mario Galea

Malta needed 150 new beds each year for elderly care in homes to cover the needs of the aging population, Community Care parliamentary secretary Mario Galea said.

Speaking during a press breakfast on elderly people and domestic violence held to mark the European year for combating poverty and social exclusion, Mr Galea said that there were at this point close to 4,000 beds for the elderly in the 37 homes run by the government, the church and the private sector.

Mr Galea pointed out that there were some 95,000 holders of the kartanzjan, issued to people on their 60th birthday.

Stephanie Xuereb, the director of the Elderly and Community Services at the Health Ministry, said that last year the Electoral Office processed 9,452 cards for new kartanzjan holders.

Throughout that year 76,607 meals on wheels were delivered to elderly people and an average of 70 calls a day were received by CommCare unit, that delivered nursing care in the community.

Dr Xuereb said the ministry was exploring ways of ensuring that the 17 day centres were used to help elderly acquire new skills, such as computer literacy, that would help them remain independent.

Maryanne Gauci the service manager of Appogg’s Adult and Family Services, said that about 300 children could be witnessing domestic violence at home at this point in time, according to snapshot statistics taken by Appogg two years ago.

The figures showed that in September 2008 the Domestic Violence Unit at Appogg dealt with 337 children who were seeing a parent being abused. Snapshot statistics taken a year earlier, in November 2007, showed that 301 children witnessed domestic violence that month.

Although such figures were not calculated for 2009, data showed that, that year, the unit worked on 1,030 cases - increasing from 972 cases in 2008.

Ms Gauci explained that all these cases were handled by five full-time social workers with full caseloads, a part-timer as well as a team leader and coordinator.

She stressed on the need for more resources to help victims of domestic violence and that included the children who were witnessing the abuse.

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