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During the opening address of the conference on 4 December in St Julians which brought the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations in Malta to an end, Mario Galea, Parliamentary Secretary for the Elderly and Community, stated that the Government has given priority to seniors through various measures.
During the year 2012, pensioners aged 80 or more began receiving an annual grant of 300 Euros, to help them meet the challenges of ageing and living independently in the community. In the budget for the year 2013, the age threshold for such measures was dropped to 78. In 2014, this aid will be further expanded to those aged 75 years and over. Mr. Galea added that the budget for the year 2013 reforms the concept of Pensjoni tal-Wens, which will now be granted to those who have been out of productive work, to assist older persons with mobility problems or other issues that make them dependent.
The Parliamentary Secretary commented that seniors represent a positive change in society. Today they go to the university, browse the internet and use Skype. According to an NGO survey on the use of IT in the year 2011, 16,000 elderly aged between 65 and 74 years have a computer at home. The majority of them use the internet. Around 4,700 seniors used the internet to purchase a service.
Mario Galea also highlighted that the government is doing its utmost for the elderly to remain active in their communities without forgetting long-term care. During the year 2011, a record of 90,000 hot meals were cooked for Meals on Wheels service users from the kitchen of St. Vincent de Paul. The Homehelp Service offered 7,500 hours to seniors per week, and the staff at Handyman Service performed almost 1,800 jobs for older people. Outreach carers worked 3,000 hours and visited 250 families.
The government is also providing for seniors who wish to contribute to the country’s economy. Older persons have the opportunity to earn their wages without losing their pension. Today more than 10,000 seniors are offering their contribution in the employment sector in Malta.
Mario Galea thanked the organising committee and its appointed ambassadors who undertook a variety of initiatives for the European Year of Active Ageing and helped to demonstrate the essential role of senior citizens in society.
Click here to see some pictures of the event.
For more information about the European Year 2012 activities in Malta you may visit this webpage.