Editorial: careless care

Please note that the article is more than five years old and belongs to our archive. We do not update the content of the archives, so it may be necessary to consult newer sources.
Photo: Urmas Nemvalts

One day it may happen. When it turns out a loved one needs constant care and support due to age or severe illness. Such is increasingly the case thus forcing us to take an ever more serious look at aging with dignity. 

In Estonia, the years lived healthy are on a brisk increase. While for a man born in 2000, statistics office says expected lifespan is 65.9 years, it is 72.3 for those born in 2014. For women, the respective figures are 76.3 and 81.5 years. The positive trend nations strive towards in policies will inevitably lead to an aging society with its worries. A telling fact: in 2002–2012 the number of elderly at social welfare institutions grew by 80 percent.

Possibly, the greatest problem here is awareness. The divide is steep, as people involved with loved ones in need are feeling it very deeply, both emotionally and financially, while those untouched remain distant though occasionally reminded by specialists speaking out publicly.  

The situation described in Postimees today about demented elderly and alcoholics stuck at wards with aggressive schizophrenics is a tough real life reminder. Alas, it may be but the tip of the iceberg. The current system is failing to provide the needed varied help. Meanwhile, even the coalition treaty features a promise to establish a national quality framework for social welfare and see that it is followed. What about it then? On paper all Okay?

National Audit has pointed towards confusion in social ministry regarding the institutions and nursing. Last year, Häli Tarum from University of Tartu wrote about the government lacking a vision for care for elderly, the EU funds thus spent at random.

Also, the topic has been targeted by Chancellor of Justice, with regard to need to tweak the legal space and the system. How many drastic tales told  will it take to jolt it?


Cartoon: SOCIAL WELFARE CENTER. «We have this old lion here, not good for the shows any longer. Have you an elderly lady he could share the room with?»