The Nationalist government wants to ensure that the elderly continue to live in their community whenever possible, ideally in their own homes, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said this morning.

Addressing a meeting in the Qalb il-Familja series at Villa Arrigo, Dr Gonzi said the government would continue to offer the elderly support structures and community services, even together with the private sector.

The government was also increasing the number of homes for the elderly, both state and private ones and these measures were helping to address the waiting list of elderly wanting to move to homes.

Dr Gonzi mentioned measures the government had implemented to help the elderly. These included that they could continue to work without their pension being affected.

In the budget for 2013, which had not been approved, it had also proposed that the €300 allowance to the over 80s would be given to all those 75 and over.

Speaking about Mater Dei waiting lists, Dr Gonzi said the government had tested a model that worked by collaborating with the private sector. He pledged that health care would remain free.

Dr Gonzi said it was important to keep making good choices for the country, keeping finances on a strong footing.

For, as could be seen in other countries, when finances suffered, social services were first to go. But as long as the country’s finances were strong, the government could continue to invest in services for the elderly.

Irrespective of political colour, the Nationalist government appreciated what the elderly did for society and would work to keep ensuring that they lived a life with dignity and kept learning.

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