On the occasion of 1 October - International Day of Older Persons, the Protector of Citizens, Mr. Zoran Pašalić reiterated his appeal to the competent state bodies to establish a more efficient social welfare system in line with the needs of the elderly in Serbia, to provide financially sustainable services and special support services and to take the necessary measures and activities to help the elderly and provide them in both regular and emergency contexts with adequate health care.

"The elderly in Serbia are still the ones mostly facing poverty, illness, discrimination and violence, and a particular problem is the lack of special services. These problems could be mostly seen during the state of emergency introduced due to the Covid-19 epidemic, when the elderly with mental and physical disabilities who need the support of formal and informal caregivers had the most difficulties in meeting fundamental living needs," Mr. Pašalić said.

Mr. Pašalić adds that the elderly in a state of social need also had numerous problems, especially those who needed urgent accommodation during the ban on admission to gerontology centers and nursing homes, the elderly who needed the help of geronto-housewives which was restricted, as well as the elderly homeless persons due to the impossibility of admission to shelters and other social welfare institutions.

Key measures that should be taken for the protection of the elderly in emergency situations are higher social allowances, improving the quality of health care and social welfare services, the possibility of alternative accommodation for the elderly in need of emergency care, providing support services to persons who are not in the social welfare system, hiring more expert workers in social welfare centers and social welfare institutions, Mr. Pašalić stated and he reminded as well that on his initiative during the state of emergency, a procedure for issuing movement permits to all persons who took care of the elderly population had been established.

Mr. Pašalić states that, regarding the improvement of the position of the elderly, he recommended to the Government of Serbia to prepare draft laws introducing the institute of decision-making with support to abolish the possibility of deprivation of legal capacity and to intensify activities in the process of deinstitutionalization together with activities to establish adequate community services, whereas local self-government units were advised to take continuous measures to establish, maintain and develop community services in accordance with the needs of persons with disabilities and the elderly.

International Day of Older Persons is celebrated on 1 October in accordance with the Resolution 45/106 passed by the UN General Assembly in 1990 with the aim of emphasizing the importance of adapting the living environment to the needs and abilities of the elderly.