6 October 1992

Doc. 6699


on the protection of dependent elderly persons

presented by Mrs ÖZVER and others

1.       The European Community has designated 1993 European Year of the Elderly and Solidarity between Generations.

2.       The member states of the Council of Europe have an aggregate population of more than 480 million, over 60 million of whom are elderly. One aspect of current demographic trends is the ageing of the population. In thirty years or so about twenty percent of Europeans will be over 65, and more than five percent will be over 80, entailing increased risks of dependence.

3.       Dependence entails family solidarity, but it also presupposes assistance from the authorities. This must be primarily financial aid, health care and general hygiene, but it should also be designed to help elderly persons organise their lives and get the most out of life in general. The various European social protection systems meet these highly complex needs differently - and often not very effectively.

4.       Dependence of elderly persons also implies protection of their rights, dignity and physical integrity.

5.       Accordingly, the Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers:

i.       closely associate the Council of Europe with the European Community's Year of the Elderly by contributing to actions designed to improve the situation of the elderly in Europe;

ii.       recognise in social protection systems the social risk of dependence as distinct from the risk of illness, and promote the establishment at international level of a tenth branch of social security;

iii.       urge all the governments of Council of Europe member states to ratify the Additional Protocol to the European Social Charter (which has just come into force following the three ratifications required), which contains an Article 4 on social protection for elderly persons, thus making a practical contribution to the Year of the Elderly;

iv.       invite the governments of member states to ratify the (revised) European Code of Social Security, which sets a high standard of protection that may provide some solutions to the problem of dependent elderly persons.