IN my opinion health is our main concern, for us the elderly, it is more important than even our financial situation, although we as a group are discriminated against in terms of health care and attention. It is really an ethical question to think that a certain medical-health treatment has less therapeutical importance when it is used for the elderly than when it is used for young people.
Growing old is an unavoidable. It is a fate that awaits us all as long as some something unfortunate doesn't happen to us earlier on in life. It is inevitable that we will all get old one day, and that our lives will come to an end. Nevertheless in this globalized world in which we live we still have to learn to get old and deal with a society which tends to praise, boast and extol young people and reject, disown and even humiliate the older generation. When we evaluate people we should focus more on the biological rather than the chronological age, respect qualities but not only physical ones (that can be more limited) there are others too, ones comingrom experience, ones tat can also be very important and much better in older people than in younger peope. Age in itself is not an illness an society should come to terms with this idea. We, the elderly cannot accept that society does not see it like this, we cannot accept neither do we accept that we are considered to be a group o unprouctive peope who do not deserve to use certain health resources just because it will not benefit society in any way.
It is true that ageing is an extremely important risk factor in any type of ailment, but it should not be taken for granted that illness is inherent with old age, or that we, the elderly, seeing as we have already done our bit, achieved our mission in life, are practically worthless when we have given society our best throughout our long working life. We now have the right to a normal socio-political life, to represent and to be represented, and of course to receive the medical care we deserve, one which satisfies the needs of our age group. The idea of a medical gerontocracy in the world we live in is unimaginable.
In the light of the aforementioned, old people, logically and in all fairness hope:
- That the health systems are constantly adapted to the changing needs of an ever changing population, the older generations have grown considerably in terms of demographics, fortunately for everyone of us and this growth just doesn't stop.
- That Geriatric training for primary health care doctors is promoted and encouraged. The primary health care centres must have doctors who have enough training in this subject to be able to diagnose and treat the ailments and illnesses of the elderly people.
- That all the specialised medical care centres have enough geriatric specialists to be able to cope with the number of elderly people assigned to the centre in question.
- That all the hospitals have enough geriatric services and beds to care for the old people assigned to the centre.
- That the clinical tests for new medicines include elderly people too, seeing as exclusion creates a lack of knowledge due to the lack of evidence and experience, so that this new medicine can be used on older people.
- That a palliative care plan that can be used for incurable diseases is drawn up and developed. One which will relieve and reduce the possible inhuman pain suffered by patients.
- That the health prevention and improvement programs are also aimed at elderly people too.
That elderly people's rights to be donors and recipients of organs for transplants are recognised.
I would like to end my thoughts by reiterating that the more of us there are to fight for our rights and the more united we are, the more notice will be taken of our demands.
José Roberto López
for the European Group