The Malta Independent 23 September 2023, Saturday
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The minister is insulting the elderly rather than taking care of them - Paula Mifsud Bonnici

Wednesday, 31 May 2023, 11:12 Last update: about 5 months ago

For the Minister of Active Ageing Jo Etienne Abela, the elderly in the Cospicua nursing home who protested yesterday did so only because they were incited, the PN Spokesperson for active aging Paula Mifsud Bonnici said.

Cospicua elderly home residents are in tears over eviction plans, with the government announcing last Saturday that there are plans to move the elderly people to other homes as it intends to conduct works in the building.

"This is the derogatory way in which the Minister shows that he has no confidence in the elderly", she said in a press statement on Wednesday.

On Monday in parliament, PN MP Paula Mifsud Bonnici said that the elderly residents were given notice via a letter dated 29 May 2023, and were told that they have to fill in an application and choose their new home by selecting their top three preferred government elderly homes.

Although not listed on the letter, for reasons unknown, the deadline for the decision of the relocation has been verbally communicated to the elderly residents, Mifsud Bonnici said and were not given long to pick.

Mifsud Bonnici said that despite the minister preaching that decisions affecting the elderly should be taken by the government and elderly together, this is not the case.

"All this is having a negative impact, particularly on the mental health of the elderly", she said.

In response to a Parliamentary Question on Tuesday posed by Mifsud Bonnici, Minister Jo Etienne Abela revealed that between 2021 and 2023 nearly €640,000 was invested in the home. He said that the investments will be kept when the home is refurbished to reach the necessary standards.

The residents have made it clear that they do not want to leave. When they spoke to Net News, many of them said that they were brought up in Cottonera and want to spend their last days there. They do not want to move elsewhere, and on Monday "protested" by gathering in front of the home to express their dismay at the government's decision.

Mifsud Bonnici during the adjournment in parliament on Monday, addressed the Minister for Active Aging Jo Etienne Abela, and questioned what the rush is, given that there hasn't been a planning application filed or permit acquired or tender awarded for the demolition of the building.

"Once again, this Government is not being transparent. For reasons known only to it, he kept this arbitrary decision a secret until it was revealed. To date no report has been presented by the Government to support what it is saying." She added.

Mifsud Bonnici said that the Nationalist Party remains committed to work for this house to remain the main home of the many elderly people in Cottonera.

Delivering an adjournment speech in parliament on Tuesday, Active Ageing Minister, Jo Etienne Abela, defended the decision to renovate the elderly home, saying that the elderly people in that home deserved a higher standard of living.


He referred to a number of messages that he had received questioning his decision, and said that he could not accept this reasoning. On the other side of the port, Abela pointed out that there was a new elderly home where the residents experience a much better quality of life.


"We have a situation where you have elderly people in a 5-star hotel, and then elderly people in a hostel."


He also pointed out that it is costing residents from both elderly homes 60% of their pension.

When talking about investment, he made reference to when Mifsud Bonnici had scrutinised the Ministry's investment in the home, but Abela replied by justifying all investments in the elderly home which would benefit the residents. Abela also invited Mifsud Bonnici to join him for a visit to both care homes.


"Prevention is better than cure", Abela said, and then asked the Opposition whether they wanted him to wait for someone to hurt before he does something.


Abela concluded by clarifying that the Ministry is doing everything possible to make it easier for the elderly to move out, and that he empathises with them.


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