The Federation of European Retired Persons’ Association (FERPA) – of which the NPC is a member – has claimed that more and more people are concerned by long-term care and end up in a state of dependence. Whatever their age – elderly or not – they often do not have, within the EU, the means to live and be cared with dignity, especially when they face health problems, requiring long and expensive care. The definition of care can vary from one Member State to another. If in some countries people whose health condition requires such care benefit from care under Social Security, the situation is quite different as regards the accompaniment of patients due to their health condition, whether in institutions or at home.
These costs turn out to be very expensive and often they cannot be covered only by the resources of the persons concerned, particularly in the context of budgetary austerity plans established within the Union, where the amount of pension is either reduced or frozen.
They then have to have recourse to relatives, when they exist or if they are able to contribute – because they themselves are facing the impact of rigour measures – or in their absence, to support services.
These people, especially for the elderly and widowed women also have to face problems of loneliness or abandonment, let alone abuse. They find themselves de facto socially excluded and at risk of poverty.
While in some countries initiatives have been taken to overcome this difficult situation, they too often remain insufficient – when they exist-facing the challenge which is bound to keep growing mainly because of the aging population.
For FERPA, it is primarily up to the public authorities (governments, regions, municipalities …) to guarantee such supporting measures; they certainly could not discharge their own social responsibilities upon the private sector. Issues related to health cannot be reduced to a market or to market laws. This also implies giving caregivers the means to fulfil their mission in a quite ‘professional’ way.
The purpose of the approach being undertaken by FERPA and its members is to support and ensure in dignity, health, safety and welfare of those who are increasingly less capable to care for themselves or cope alone with the requirements of life.
That is why through this European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), FERPA intends to warn and call on all people of goodwill and/or concerned to support its ECI by signing its call, in order to press the Commission to take all the necessary appropriate steps this field.
Therefore, one goal for everybody:
‘Any person within the European Union, regardless of age or marital status, who suffers from disability or condition requiring long-term care, is entitled to benefit from guaranteed quality care and supporting measures required by his/her condition.
‘To FERPA and the people concerned, it is a matter of dignity.
‘Therefore, FERPA calls on the Commission to take all measures and initiatives in its power to ensure that this right is made effective within each Member State, each in its own way and manner.’