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Susan Robinson, a 68-year-old resident of a United States nursing facility, was lying awake one night in March when she heard her neighbor gasping for breath. “She was dying,” Robinson said. “They took her to the hospital. They didn’t tell us anything…
Caterina Salvi, 90, waits for a visitor inside a protective inflatable plastic tunnel at the Martino Zanchi nursing home in Alzano Lombardo, northern Italy, February 24, 2021.
News
It was clear immediately that the Covid-19 pandemic would hit women hardest. First came the school closures. One point four billion children were sent home from school, and many more from childcare facilities. Who was going to look after them? Who…
Women domestic workers, many of whom lost their jobs after the coronavirus outbreak, shout slogans at a protest demanding social security from the government in Bengaluru, India, June 15, 2020.
News
For households around the world, soon it will be the time of the month to start thinking about next month’s rent, mortgage or housing loan payments. Billions of people have been directly or indirectly affected by Covid-19. This unprecedented public…
Homeless women sleep outside on a mattress in the "Villa 31" neighborhood during a government-ordered lockdown to curb the spread of the new coronavirus in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, May 6, 2020.
News
President Jair Bolsonaro has been peddling the myth that only older people are at risk from Covid-19. At the same time, he has repeatedly dismissed their needs. His  disinformation and callous remarks about the country’s 28 million people over 60…
A Zapotec woman washes her hands after learning from a local radio program about hand-washing and social distancing to avoid COVID-19, in Oaxaca state, Mexico, March 31, 2020.
News

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic underlines the urgent need for safety nets for domestic workers.

Few workers have cause to celebrate May 1, International Workers' Day, this year. COVID-19 has been accompanied by another pandemic - of job loss and economic insecurity. Domestic workers, primarily women, have particularly precarious jobs and often do…
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Every day for more than two years, Mae has brought breakfast and dinner to her husband, Dean, 75, (not their real names) in his aged care facility in their town in Northern Queensland. Dean has dementia and Mae sits with him for hours, encouraging…
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News

Governments have a responsibility to protect foreign domestic workers.

  Governments around the world have imposed restrictions on movements of citizens to counter the threat of COVID-19 and limit its spread. But for millions of Asian and African migrant domestic workers in the…
Illustration of a domestic worker exploited in Oman.
News
As we approach the last days of the decade, it’s important to reflect on the fight for human rights, the setbacks and successes over the past year in Australia and around the world. Our list isn’t ranked, and far from exhaustive – we…
A Uighur woman picking up school children rides past a picture showing China's President Xi Jinping joining hands with a group of Uighur elders at the Unity New Village in Hotan, in western China's Xinjiang region.
News
This year I have interviewed dozens of people who have told me how aged care facilities drugged their parents, grandparents, husbands, wives and neighbours. We’d sit down in someone’s home, or in an advocacy group’s meeting space, or in a coffee shop, and…
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News

Choice and the Dangers of Institutionalization for Older People

There are inherent risks in the institutionalization of older people. More protections from those risks are needed, particularly around decision-making. A “best interests” standard for decision making “for your own good” is not good enough. Older people’s…
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News
My dad’s hearty laugh and sparkling eyes faded—and his care needs grew—as dementia set in. For his last few years, my dad lived in a care facility. The memory care unit staff treated him well. But he needed more than the staff. He needed…
Dementia
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We are not destined to be objects of pity in our old age. But ageism is alive and kicking.

Most people in England have probably heard about the country’s social care crisis and the enormous pressure on the vital services that support older people to live independent and dignified lives in their own homes. The crisis might seem…
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News
On December 10, the world marks 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Regrettably, instead of the anniversary signalling the enduring impact of human rights, some are fearing the “end of human rights.” Here we…
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News
I’ll start with a sentiment I hear a lot when I say I work on older people’s rights: “Oh, nursing homes can be awful, but my dad’s in a good one.” I would hope that everyone living in a facility is living in a “good” one. But unfortunately, that just isn’…
News
Deborah, a 58-year-old widow in Zimbabwe, said that after her husband died, her in-laws harassed and threatened her. They wanted her home and the land she had cultivated for four decades. Deborah said her brother-in-law had “taken all of…
Two widows in eastern Zimbabwe, facing harassment from in-laws who are trying to force them to vacate their homes and fields. Rural Eastern Zimbabwe, October 2016.
News
“If you want to go back [home], you have to pay back the money we spent to bring you here.” “Atiya Z.” (not her real name) and I were sitting under a veranda, shaded from the hot sun in Dar es Salaam, the commercial capital of Tanzania, when…
Employment visa from Oman in the passport of a former Tanzanian domestic worker. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.