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The elderly, especially those in institutional care, are one of the most vulnerable groups and are at a greater risk of discrimination, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment, the National Preventive Mechanism assessed on the occasion of the International Day for Older Persons, on October 1. Due to their very difficult position in certain situations, the Protector of Citizens, through the mandate of the National Preventive Mechanism, pays special attention to monitoring the actions of the competent authorities towards these persons, especially in closed departments of gerontology centers where mobile and immobile beneficiaries with dementia are housed.

In performing the tasks of the NPM, the Protector of Citizens made 52 recommendations to the competent authorities in reports on visits to the homes for the elderly, with the aim of improving the position of the elderly and eliminating the identified shortcomings in the work of the visited institutions. The recommendations were given, first of all, to improve the material conditions of the beneficiaries’ stay, to equip rooms and exercise the right to privacy and other rights of beneficiaries, as well as to ensure adequate staffing and greater involvement of beneficiaries in work occupational and culturally entertaining activities. In particular, the Protector of Citizens identified a high degree of restriction of the freedom of movement of beneficiaries inside and outside the institution and accordingly recommended that the competent ministry regulate this issue legally. The competent authorities acted on most of the recommendations.

In order to further improve the position of the elderly in institutional care, the Protector of Citizens reminded on this day that it is necessary to increase the human resources for working with the elderly in nursing homes, their constant education and sensitization is required, as well as continuous support to the beneficiaries in order to protect and preserve their dignity.

In accordance with the UN General Assembly Resolution of 14 December 1990, the International Day for Older Persons is celebrated on 1 October with the aim of highlighting the importance of adapting the environment in which we live to the needs and capabilities of the elderly.