Group of European Pensioners from Savings Banks and Financial Institutions


Index of documents > Reports and communications > Sicilia 2007

When I acknowledged this year’s main issue, I must confess I was worried.


What a motto!


- Sanitary discrimination among elderly people.


With 74 years old and living in Portugal, this subject has never been dealt with.


Little by little by little, the work must be started. The first thing I did was to telephone my friend López, I told him about my doubts and he gave me two aims: there are few geriatrician doctors and, on the other hand, there not enough sanitary specialised areas for people of our age.


Encouraged by these ideas I started investigating.


Among the Legislation a fact of discrimination based on people’s age cannot be found and, in Portugal the Bill of the Elderlies’ Rights, passed by the United Nations’ General Assembly on the 16/12/91, is known and accepted


I rapidly visited the care homes destined for our elderlies, and from there I departed even faster and more scared. Sometimes we overestimate our condition of Europeans but these homes seem waiting areas for the final trip, and even so the access to them is limited because of the lack of space or financing.


Nevertheless, I did not find discrimination there. They are deposits, the same as several kindergartens where parents have to leave their children because they have to go to work. The only difference is the age of the users.


In what has to do with insurances, the only discrimination existing referring to age is the limit of 70 years old.


In review: if we take the meaning of discrimination literally, we could say that it does not exist in Portugal.


Once this conclusion is reached the work seems to be finished.


But the work is not done, it cannot be finished if we understand that sanitary care should go further than the medical treatments give for enlarging our life; they should also provide the elderlies with a comfortable life that can only be reached when there is tenderness and respect.


Therefore, discrimination exists as a consequence of the society we have created and to which we belong to; a society where even milk must be “light” and there is a vast number of people who don’t dare to lift their legs to avoid an obstacle because they fear their surgically restyled skin will break. A society that decides to abolish the penalty of death and reaches the extreme of making-up the dead’s faces in order not to scare the living. So as it can be seen, our society is not willing to live with those recalling death.


This is why everybody is willing to accept and exploit the first old age generation while they are able to look after their grandchildren and, in the short term, great-grandparents (second on age generation). This society doesn’t show no availability for organizing schedules so there is a place for the love and respect the elderlies need, deserve and want.


This is the real discrimination.


If we take into account that the legend of “delenda Cartago” is the story about an ancient civilisation that used to take their elderlies to a mountain and gave them a blanket so they could reach the end of their days with some comfort, it is very important that we fight at all levels so a Governmental Department is created (The Elderly Secretariat)             and we find the way to tell nowadays society: give us a pair of scissors so we can cut the blanket in two so you will also have one when your turn arrives.


Maybe these way mentalities will change and the elderlies will be entitled to the loving care that will help them in the last step of their lives.


This is an effort our Group must encourage.                              




Fernando Boto –  Associação de Reformados do Montepio