The Association of Elderly Rights and Mental Health held an action in front of the Ministry of Health and the Prime Ministry, “to be the voice of the elderly who have been neglected and abused for a long time in our country and to say ‘enough is enough’ to the government”.
Activists, “Shame on those who cannot find a solution to the health problems of our elders!!!”, “We want a social state”, “Our orphaned elderly cannot receive health care in state hospitals because they do not have a companion”, “Do not ignore your patient, do not leave him to die”, “Social assistance salaries do not even feed the elderly”.
They carried banners that read: “Societies are developed as much as they value their elders” and “We want elderly nursing homes that provide care suitable for human dignity”.
Hatice Jenkins, Chairperson of the Association of Elderly Rights and Mental Health, who read the press release, pointed out that 12,772 people, who are insurance pensioners, received an old-age pension below the minimum wage and stated that the salary of the elderly was not enough for them to receive care services.
Emphasizing that the situation of private nursing homes as well as state-owned nursing homes is even more deplorable, Jenkins emphasized that in these difficult economic conditions, the state cannot even feed the elderly with the social assistance salary of 5 thousand TL per month.
Jenkins: Our seniors and nursing homes plunged into misery
Hatice Jenkins, Chairperson of the Association of Elderly Rights and Mental Health, stated that although the number of elderly people in need of care is increasing day by day, there is not even a single room left in the nursing homes, and the state has not built the Lapta Old People’s Home for 12 years. She called for the Kalkanlı Nursing Home to be repaired and renewed to provide care for more elderly people. Emphasizing that the situation of private nursing homes is even more deplorable, Jenkins said that in these difficult economic conditions, the elderly are cared for with a social assistance salary of 5 thousand TL, given by the state, without any government support. Pointing out that the cost of care for an elderly person in a nursing home today is at least 15 thousand TL, Jenkins called out to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Labor and drew attention to the fact that the social assistance salary of 5-6 thousand TL paid by the state does not even feed the elderly. Saying that they have been waiting for this problem to be fixed for five years, Jenkins said that in this economic crisis, the elderly and nursing homes were pushed into misery, and that the ministers were responsible for this.
“Is this your understanding of a social state, does this state not have dignity?”
Jenkins said in her speech: “You have done nothing to improve private nursing homes. You said they are private, you stepped back. But you sent the poor, disabled and sick old people that even the state could not take care of. Even during the pandemic period, you left private nursing homes alone.
Our orphaned elderly people staying in nursing homes cannot access the state’s health services. Our poor elderly people are neglected and abused alone in state hospitals because they do not have a companion. Alone, without even their bottoms changed, their human dignity has been broken, they are waiting to die and praying to be saved. Yes, that’s exactly why we revolt! You knew what was going on in the Sınırüstü Nursing Home, dear authorities! You had the inspection reports, why did you turn a blind eye to crimes against humanity? You told us that that was a private place as well. You didn’t care, you didn’t care if the old people were hungry, neglected, had scabies or corona. That is, until that terrible video appeared and was covered by the press. Otherwise, you would still be watching Sınırüstü Nursing Home from afar today. It’s been exactly a year and a half. You still haven’t repaired the Sınırüstü Nursing Home. Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister, you have left your responsibility to the Contractors’ Union and the sponsors. You did not even go and inspect what was done as a state. Is this your understanding of the social state? Doesn’t this state have any dignity?”
Jenkins emphasized that a law has been made to raise the standards of nursing homes and nursing homes for the elderly, and that he is waiting to be discussed in the parliament and emphasized that no nursing home currently exists has the standards required by this law.
“What is your roadmap?”
Jenkins also posed a series of questions to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Labour: “How will you go about raising the standards of nursing homes as required by law? Do you have a road map? Will you give land to nursing homes for the construction of buildings? Will you give credit? What do you plan to do for the training of the personnel who will work in this field? Have you allocated financial resources to support nursing homes for the fiscal year 2024 budget you are working on?”
“12 thousand 772 people receive old age pension below the minimum wage”
Pointing out that 12 thousand 772 people are retired from social insurance in our country receive old age pension below the minimum wage, Jenkins said, “These elderly people will also need care in the coming years. The monthly salaries of these elderly people will not be enough to receive care either at home or in a nursing home. Are you aware of that?”
Asking what kind of care is promised to our elderly, Jenkins demanded that the government develop a public policy for the elderly and allocate funds from the 2024 fiscal year budget to implement it. Jenkins said, “Care that protects human dignity is our most natural human right. Enough of the misery, neglect and abuse of the elderly,” she said.
She thanked the following NGOs and organisations for their support in the action:
Alzheimer’s Association, Akova Women’s Association, Independent Youth Association, Independence Road, Republican Turkish Party, EMU-SEN, Denkay Başel Social Development Foundation, Universal Patient Rights Association, GÜÇ-SEN, Polyphonic Choirs Association, Cyprus Turkish Bar Association, Turkish Cypriot Union of Doctors, Union of Chambers of Cyprus Turkish Engineers and Architects.
Source: Bağımsız Gazete
Photographs: Bağımsız Gazete