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Elder Rights in American and the Caribbean

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A World Tour of Older Persons Homes
Come on this World Tour to a little known place in the world to discover how older persons are living.

Reports & Articles


Canada: For a True Governmental Policy on Aging (February 2012)
(Report in French)
The Quebec Association of Health Facilities and Social Services published this report, the association's contribution to the aging policy currently being drafted by the government to highlight the pressing need for response to changing demographics. With the rapidly changing age structure, increasing longevity and the anticipated increase in the number of very elderly people in Canada, the association urges the government to show leadership and initiate necessary reforms.


Mexico: More Than 800,000 Seniors Live in Extreme Poverty (July 21, 2012)
(Article in Spanish)
Mexico has a population of 10.8 million older adults, and more than half do not have sufficient resources to live with dignity.  More than 800 million survive in extreme poverty.  

Cuba: Evaluation of abuse to the elderly belonging to an university polyclinic (2012)
(Article in Spanish; Abstract in English)
A study of 3,382 Cuban seniors concluded that younger participants are more often impacted by psychological pain, financial abuse by family members, and neglect.  Furthermore, older men face nearly all forms of maltreatment from family members.  Their children and grandchildren perpetrate the maltreatment.  46.4% of the participants reported psychological abuse and 27.8% described neglect.  Children (40.5%) and grandchildren (24.3%) are typically responsible.

Bolivia: Maltreatment to Older Adults Climbs 244% in 1 Year (June 17, 2012)
(Article in Spanish)
Reports of abuse and mistreatment of seniors submitted to the City Defendor (el Defensor del Pueblo) sky rocketed by 244% in one year.  In 2010, only 355 abuse reports of older adults were registered in 16 offices.  During the past year, 1,154 abuse reports were submitted.  The majority involved psychological and physical pain caused by their relatives.

Mexico: More Than 800,000 Older Persons Live in Poverty (June 14, 2012)
(Article in Spanish)
Some 10.1 million persons of at least age 60 years populate Mexico and represent 9% of the total population.  Seven million of these older adults live in poverty; among these, 800,000 elders survive on the extreme, low-income side of the spectrum.  Diabetes is the principle cause of hospitalization and death.  On the other hand, in a group of 100 older individuals, estimates suggest that 26 older adults will have some form of disability.

Cuba: Over 1,500 Centenarians (May 6, 2012)
(Article in Spanish)
A recent study conducted by Cuban geriatricians and demographers revealed the habits of over 1,500 Cuban seniors over 100 hundred years old. The study found that frequent exercise was an important component in improving the mood, cognition, physical function, and life of the older Cubans. According to the United Nations, Cuba will be among the countries who share the greatest aging population by 2050, as 39.2 percent of its inhabitants will be over the age of 60. A report funded by the National Office of Statistics and Information found that by 2024 Cuban elders will have the greatest longevity in comparison to all other Latin American and Caribbean countries. 

Canada: Quebec: More Jobs for Those Aged 55 and Older in 2011 (April 23, 2012)
(Article in French)
The Statistical Institute of Quebec has published its latest report concerning the labor market for 2011. It introduces a whole new trend: the increasing employment rate of  people over the age of 55 years. Indeed, from 2010 to 2011, this population group gained 28,000 jobs, an increase of 4.4 percent. To explain this phenomenon, economists put forward the lengthening of life, more favorable work conditions for seniors and financial difficulties.

Canada: Restrictions for Older Drivers? (April 3, 2012)
(Article in French)
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) would like to see restrictions for older drivers implemented. An editorial in the CMA Journal maintains that some seniors suffer from "substantial physical and mental deterioration" and are at risk for accidents as drivers. There is concern about fatal car accidents, representing one death per day in the country for people aged 65 and older. Older people see this as pure ageism, retorting that they may be more fragile, but they are still able to drive safely.

Chile: Elder Abuse Increasing in Chile (April 2, 2012)
(Article in Spanish)
Elder abuse in Chile has increased by 38 percent, and in 70 percent of those cases, family members are to blame, according to Activa, a non-governmental organization. Activa’s Director, Gloria Requena, is asking authorities to prioritize public policy in this area. She specifically wants the Director of The National Service for Seniors (Senama in Spanish) to generate statistics on elder issues to inform the public about what is going on.

Mexico: Credit Institutions Limiting Seniors (March 30, 2012)
(Article in Spanish)
In Mexico, seniors are often denied or offered limited access to credit because of their age. The National Commission for the Protection and Defense of Users of Financial Services (Condusef in Spanish) has urged lending institutions to consider the needs of this particular market. Unfortunately, the majority of banks limit credit and financing options for seniors up to 65 years of age, sometimes 69. The National Bank of Mexico, Banamex, recently announced that they have raised the age limit for loans to 79 years and eleven months.

Colombia: Difficulties Faced by Hundreds of Elderly in Cali (March 25, 2012)
(Article in Spanish)
In Cali, Colombia there are more than two thousand elders living on the street. In fact, the elderly make up 30 percent of the 6,000 homeless people in the city. While the government has an obligation to care for senior citizens who are abandoned by their families, there isn’t enough room to accommodate them in the nursing hostels. Guillermo Zapata, a doctor and manager in one of the two convalescent homes in Cali, says that there isn’t the necessary financial support to care for 350 of their senior residents. Of the four billion dollars the home needs yearly to operate, the government only provides half of the funds, and few senior citizens (only 26 percent) have pensions to help curb the costs of eldercare. What is to be done?   

Canada: Report on Euthanasia Raises Concerns (March 22, 2012)
(Article in French)
The Special Commission on the issue of dying with dignity has released its report on the situation in Canada, worrying Bruno Marchand, president of the Quebec Association for Suicide Prevention. According to him, allowing these practices surrounding the end of life adds extra pressure on elderly patients. There are also concerns that the Swiss scenario in which the conditions of access to euthanasia have continuously been extended, might repeat itself in his country.

Canada: Canada Urged to Segregate Elderly Prisoners (March 19, 2012) 
In Canada, the number of elderly persons being sent to prison is greatly increasing. To address the human needs of older offenders, Canada is being encouraged to follow an American model of accommodating those prisoners by separating them into age-specific units like The True Grit Senior Structured Living Program in Nevada. The True Grit Program appeals to the safety, interests, physical abilities and health issues of convicted seniors, with no added cost to the state. However, critics say that True Grit is not strict enough on elderly offenders of serious crimes.

Paraguay: Older People from San Francisco de Asis Ask for Fruits and Visit (March 7, 2012)
(Article in Spanish)
Nursing Homes in San Francisco de Asis have 70 elders, 22 women and 48 men. They were abandoned by their families and picked up from the street by the authorities. Thanks to the nursing home, they have what they need to survive; however, they want love from their family. Their only friends are nursing students and some volunteers from Mennonite Central Committee.

Canada: 'Aging in Place' Plan is Road to Private Care: Critics (January 26, 2012)
The State of Alberta has announced that older Albertans who can no longer live independently will be placed permanently in new facilities called “continuing care centers” instead of being placed in different homes as needs increase. Senior advocates and opposition parties critiqued the plan for lacking details and not addressing the real issues in elder care which include insufficient hospital beds.

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