Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mereseini Vuniwaqa today launched the National Minimum Standards for Homes on the Care of the Older Persons in Suva.
Vuniwaqa said the publication is the pioneer comprehensive document for Fiji that is aimed at measuring service improvements for partners in the Aged Care industry.
The Ministry for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation currently works in partnership with a total of nine aged care facilities around the country with a total of 223 residents.
“The National Minimum Standards acknowledge the unique and complex needs of each individual residing in a care home; as such it stipulates the minimum requirements for the facility to operate a care home as well as the required knowledge, skills and competencies needed by management and staff to ensure care homes deliver individually tailored, comprehensive and quality services,” Vuniwaqa said.
The principles underlining the standards include dignity, privacy, self –fulfillment, autonomy-empowerment, equality as well as the right to complain and right to legal recourse.
Vuniwaqa highlighted the need for Fijians to better prepare themselves, their families and communities to be responsible in ensuring that we age with dignity and respect.
“Fijians are not only living longer but more Fijians are living with disabilities and are more likely to need some help in their day-to-day living. According to the National Census in 2017, Fijians aged 60+ comprised 9 per cent of the total population (80,483 older Fijians), while people living with disabilities made up 12.8 per cent of the total population (113,595 Fijians),” Vuniwaqa said.
“The same Census shows that 69 per cent of our population is below the age of 40 years. This effectively means that our population is currently represented by a structural pyramid which will become an inverted pyramid in a few decades in front of us. The social and economic implications for us as a nation would be vast.”
Existing Government initiatives to address both older persons and people living with disabilities include:
– Social Pension Scheme of $100 for older persons aged 65+, and the disability allowance of $90;
-100 per cent bus fare concessions for people living with disabilities and those aged 60+; and
– Introduction of the new Insurance Cover by the Fijian Government for social welfare beneficiaries, amongst others, which would include recipients of both the Social Pension Scheme and the Disability Allowance.