7. Right to live and die in dignity

Everyone should have the right to live and die in dignity.

Therefore, AGE Platform Europe calls on the candidate MEPs to:

7.1  Protect dignity in old age and call for the launch of an initiative to guarantee the right for all to live and die in dignity

Background: As stated in European Charter of Fundamental rights, “the Union is founded on the indivisible, universal values of human dignity, freedom, equality and solidarity”. In addition, article 1 state that ‘Human dignity is inviolable. It must be respected and protected.’ In particular, article 25 of the states that ‘The Union recognises and respects the rights of the elderly to lead a life of dignity and independence and to participate in social and cultural life.’

AGE position: it is important here to highlight the need to take action to combat elder abuse and promote a dignified end-of-life for all, as well as raising awareness of individual and collective responsibility in accompanying each one of us in the final stages of our lives. In particular, AGE believes that the EU should continue to support research and activities on palliative and end of life care, as well as exchange of practices, so it belongs to the continuum of care in a person’s life.

For more information you may read AGE brochure Active Senior Citizens for Europe, p. 44.

 

7.2  Call on the European Commission to develop an EU-wide strategy to help Member States fight against elder abuse

Background: Elder abuse happens in all EU Member States but still remains a taboo in many of them. According to the World Health Organization definition, elder abuse is considered ‘as a single or repeated act or lack of appropriate action occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person.’ Elder abuse can take various forms: psychological (mental, emotional), physical (also medical) financial or material, sexual or discriminatory, or simply reflect intentional or unintentional neglect. Based on AGE Platform Europe repeated calls, the European Commission decided to start working on elder abuse in 2008. Several activities were organised in 2008: a video, a European Commission conference on Protecting the dignity of older persons – the prevention of elder abuse and neglect. These initiatives have been followed by several other activities such as EU-funded European projects on elder abuse (Breaking the taboo, IPVOW and Mind the Gap, AVOW, EURoPEAN, MILCEA, ABUEL, Train Improve Reduce, EUSTACEA, WeDO etc.). Finally, the European Commission continued to organised EU-wide conferences on the topic in 2011 and in 2013.

AGE position: AGE coordinated the Daphne funded project EUSTACEA which developed an EU Charter of the Rights and responsibilities of older people in need of long-term care and assistance, followed by the WeDO project on Wellbeing and Dignity of Older people. Besides, AGE is calling for an EU-wide strategy, which, by building on the results from all these initiatives and encouraging a high-level debate in all EU institutions, would considerably increase their impact and provide a coherent framework of actions to guide EU institutions and EU Members States on taking decisions to measure, prevent and fight elder abuse.

For more information you may read AGE brochure Active Senior Citizens for Europe, p. 44.

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