No improvements in protection against abuse of contracts for support until death

Contracts for support until death should be one of the ways of providing adequate support to older persons when they need it the most. Instead of that, such kind of contracts have frequently been abused, resulting in leaving the older persons without both care and property.

That is why Ombudswoman Lora Vidović in her reports to the parliament recommends a range of concrete measures for diminishing the risks of abuse and strengthening the protection of older persons, however, only one of them has been implemented so far. Thus it is forbidden for the social care service providers, their employees and family members to conclude such kind of contracts. This positive change was brought by the amendments to the Social Care Act, which entered into force on 30th December 2017. No new positive steps in protection of older persons from the abuse of these contracts have been noticed, warned Ombudswoman on the occasion of the International Day of the Elderly, celebrating every year on 1st October at the UN initiative.

Specifically, there is neither register of support providers nor is the number of such limited; one carer still may conclude contracts with even tens of older persons, which undermines any proper support. Hence, older persons seek help after the conclusion of such contract when the only remedy is a court procedure for its annulment. Having in mind that they often lack enough money, are of poor health and cannot care for themselves independently, a protracted court procedure may be fatal for them. Therefore it is of utmost importance that court procedures for the annulment of such contracts be prompt and that the older persons receive social care during the trial.

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