Understand the importance of World Day for the Elderly – Selections Brazil

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Next Thursday, October 1st, International Day of the Elderly is celebrated. The date was created by the United Nations (UN) in 1991. For the UN, old age starts at 60 years of age.

Here in Brazil, the landmark date was instituted in 1991 by the Senate Education and Health Commission. It is celebrated on September 27 of each year. Therefore, since yesterday, attention should be focused on this part of the population, so affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The objective of the Brazilian Commission is to promote reflection on the health and well-being of this portion of the population.

Our older people

Our population has been aging for some years now. In Brazil, the Census is carried out every 10 years by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). The last one was carried out in 2010. This year the research should be carried out again, but due to the pandemic, it was postponed to 2021.

According to data from the last Census, the elderly population already totaled more than 28 million people. This represents about 13% of the population. The expectation of the studies carried out by IBGE is that by 2043, this percentage will reach 25%. In other words, a quarter of the Brazilian population will be composed of elderly people in the 2040s. That is why changes in laws, such as the Pension Reform, are so necessary.

The Statute of the Elderly

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Since 2003, we already have specific legislation in order to protect the elderly in Brazil. The Elderly Statute was issued that year, providing for several protection rules in addition to specific rights. According to the law, following the UN’s understanding, in Brazil, from 60 years old the person is elderly. Get to know the Elderly Statute in full by clicking on here.

Among the assured rights is priority in service, whether in public agencies or in private institutions. Including priority in lawsuits and receipt of income tax refund.

The law provides for ensuring access to the network of local health and social care services. For those over 80, there is still a special priority in relation to other elderly people.

The law also protects the elderly against any kind of neglect, discrimination, violence, cruelty or oppression. It also criminalizes actions to attack the rights of the elderly by providing punishment for criminals.

Discrimination against the elderly, for example, carries a penalty of imprisonment from 6 months to 1 year, and a fine. The same penalty is also applicable to those who fail to provide assistance to the elderly. In the case of abandonment of the elderly, the penalty is greater, and may reach up to 03 years in prison. Other penalties are provided for certain crimes provided for in the Elderly Statute.

Although the law protects citizens from the age of 60, some rights are only guaranteed from the age of 65 onwards. This is the case with free public urban transport. Selective and special services are considered an exception when provided in parallel with regular services.

It is also necessary to observe state laws in this regard. To have access to the gratuity, just the presentation of any personal document that proves your age.

It is the responsibility of the National, State, Federal District and Municipal Councils for the Elderly to monitor compliance with the law. Whether in public or private institutions. Thus, these bodies can also receive reports of crimes or violation of the rights of the elderly.

The elderly, even if retired, are also entitled to continue exercising professional activity. At this point, your physical, intellectual and psychic conditions must be respected. The law states that:

“When admitting the elderly person to any job or job, discrimination and the establishment of a maximum age limit are prohibited.” (…) “Except where the nature of the position requires it.”

Economically active elderly

elderly man reading news on cell phone
Image: gorodenkoff / iStock

A more recent study by the Inter-Union Department of Statistics and Socio-Economic Studies – Dieese, on the elderly, was released in May. The survey was carried out in 2019. He pointed out that in 34.5% of households there are already at least 01 people aged 60 and over. Of this total, about 83% live with other people and 17% live alone.

The survey also pointed out that around 23% of the elderly continued to work at the end of 2019. In addition, in 25% of Brazilian homes, the elderly are responsible for over 50% of the family income, with pensions or remuneration.

With the economic recession between 2014 and 2016, there was already a change in the organization of Brazilian families. More and more people returned to live with their parents. This data, during the pandemic, also impacted the increase in violence against the elderly. It is very important to report.

We believe that the Law on the Elderly Statute still needs to become more effective. More effective actions need to be taken for the Law to be enforced. This is an important reflection on this date! Reports of violence against the elderly can be made through Dial 100.


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