The elderly are subject to measures which fail to protect them – MAGG

Anzjani Malta

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Maltese Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics, MAGG, is concerned on the current situation regarding the elderly in the community and in residential homes. The recent spike in deaths due to COVID-19 and the explosion of positive cases suggests that not enough is being done to protect the people who gave us the privilege of our present, said the Association in a statement published on Monday.

‘Ageism has never been so evident’

The elderly are asking why they are not given the importance they deserve? Are decisions being taken without consulting them? questioned MAGG while stating that these people worked hard throughout their life, raised a family, contributed to the economy and still do, helped forge the nation we are today and in return are being thanked by being subject to measures that they fail to understand and endorse.

The association mentioned how it is well known that older persons are now afraid to access health services for fear of contracting the virus or of being admitted to Mater Dei Hospital with a similar outcome.

“They are asking; Why am I being locked up in my own home when the rest of the population mingles and parties?  Why am I in danger living in a state-of-the-art expensive long-term care residence, when it should be the safest place in the world? Can I go home to my family and get state assistance for a while until this pandemic is over? Would I lose my place in the long-term care facility if I do that?  Why am I sacrificing hugging my children and grandchildren every day when I still see my fellow elders in similar situations succumbing to the virus anyway? Why is it that when one of my friends dies, it is not made clear on the media that death was caused by COVID-19? Has a national plan been developed to protect me while I live with dignity? At least, may I die with dignity?”

The elderly have the right to be given an answer to all these questions said the Maltese Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics.

In view of this the MAGG is proposing the following;

  • Maltese and Gozitan older persons should be at the centre of national decision-making processes
  • The authorities need to consider whether their decisions are ageist in nature. Our public health service is edging towards a state of full capacity and struggles to prepare for winter
  • Older persons should be given complete access to the same treatment as younger counterparts and health care decisions should be taken based on healthcare needs not solely on their age
  • The country should increase its restrictive measures to safeguard the older person and the vulnerable
  • A national strategy that guarantees priority of the Influenza and COVID-19 vaccine to older persons and other vulnerable groups, until there is enough for all

The ‘Maltese Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics’ is a network of professionals in the field of gerontology and geriatrics and acts as a national platform with the principle of improving the quality of life of older persons. It has been operating for over 25 years and is a member of the ‘International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics’