C.31 - Rights, dignity and well-being for families and the elderly

C.31 - Rights, dignity and well-being for families and the elderly
Include care in social protection systems, through allowances, social and health-care services and economic benefits that maximize autonomy, in particular for older persons, and guarantee the rights, dignity and well-being of families and older persons, including the right to a dignified death with proper care, without any form of discrimination or violence.
Priority measure number


The right to a dignified death with proper care, and without any type of discrimination or violence, as mentioned in this priority measure, 31, is also addressed in priority measure 29 (in relation to dignified death and in priority measure 23 (regarding the elimination on all forms of violence). The compilation of statistical information on care and unpaid work is considered under priority measure 53.

Possible lines of action:

1. Create home care programmes that include a personal caregiver, medical and gerontological check-ups, and adaptations to the dwelling, among other things. 2. Create services that promote community-based care alternatives for dependent older persons. 3. Legislate to regulate long-term care institutions from the viewpoint of the rights and dignity of dependent older persons, and create mechanisms for supervising them. 4. Legislate to protect workers providing care to a dependent older family member, including leave form work, flexible hours, and labour protection. 5. Create programmes that provide time off, counselling and training for caregivers for dependent older persons. 6. Create services to facilitate information and coordination of assistance for caregivers for dependent older persons. 7. Give budget priority to creating appropriate infrastructure and technology to facilitate the tasks of caring for dependent older persons. 8. Create public transfer programmes for non-professional caregivers working with dependent older persons (a decent basic wage, or citizen’s wage for caregivers, including social security benefits).

Related instruments, forums and mechanisms:

Questions relating to care are part of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (articles 16, 19 and 20) and of various United Nations General Assembly resolutions (resolution 31/37 XXXVIII of 1973 and resolution 46/91 on the United Nations Principles for Older Persons). They also form part of the Vienna International Plan of Action on Ageing (1982) and the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (2002).

In the jurisprudence of the treaty bodies, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights addresses the matter in general comment No. 6 on the economic, social and cultural rights of older persons (E/C.12/1995/16/Rev.1) of 1995. Regarding the right to an adequate standard of living, article 11 of the Covenant interprets this as meaning that older persons must be able to satisfy their basic needs, including food, income, care, self-sufficiency.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, in its general recommendation No. 27, held that, when it comes to labour and pension benefits, States parties should ensure that older women, including those who have responsibility for the care of children, have access to appropriate social and economic benefits such as childcare benefits, as well as access to all necessary support when caring for elderly parents or relatives.

The measure is also related to the Sustainable Development Goals and their targets, in particular target 5.4 (“Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies, and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate”).

Article 12 of the Inter-American Convention on protecting the human rights of older persons (“Rights of older persons receiving long-term care”) establishes that “older persons have the right to a comprehensive system of care that protects and promotes their health, provides social services coverage, food and nutrition security, water, clothing, and housing, and promotes the ability of older persons to stay in their own home and maintain their independence and autonomy, should they so decide.” It added that “States Parties shall design assistance measures for families and caregivers through the introduction of services for those providing care to older persons, taking into account the needs of all families and other forms of care, as well as the full participation of older persons and respect for their opinions. States Parties shall adopt measures toward developing a comprehensive care system that takes particular account of a gender perspective and respect for the dignity, physical, and mental integrity of older persons.”

C. Ageing and social protection