Tbilisi: The Public Ombudsman, in the recent address, discussed the beginning of the process of transferring the elderly in the “Tbilisi Elderly Boarding House” to other institutions. The Ombudsman was informed about this case on November 11, 2022, and considering its importance, it was thoroughly discussed in the address.
The public defender has known for several years about the de-institutionalization and the expected liquidation of this institution. In general, this process involves abolishing large institutions and moving the elderly closer to their family, where they can access different services and adapt to the community, which is obviously welcome.
However, in this particular case, given the small number of beneficiaries (total of 17 beneficiaries) and the good living conditions created there, it is important that after the closure of the institution, the elderly should be provided with decent living. The Rebel is to maintain the conditions, not to make them worse.
Regarding this process, with the request for official information, on November 18, 2022, representatives of the Ombudsman visited the “Tbilisi Elderly Boarding House”. The following problems were raised as a result of interviews with beneficiaries and representatives of the administration of the institution:
Elderly beneficiaries learned about the changes expected in August, but no one knows the exact date of their transfer. Elders, only in November, learned that they would be evicted from the building until December 1, and at the same time, electricity, water and gas would be cut off.
According to the beneficiaries, the psychologist did not work with them individually; interviews with social workers were held formally in the presence of representatives of the administration of the institution. The stress associated with the upcoming changes has aggravated their psycho-emotional well-being in a negative way, impacting their health.
According to the information at this stage, the place where the elderly are being planned to be transferred is far from the settlement, and there is no bus stop, shop, pharmacy, or medical facility nearby. Given this, the elderly have the expectation of deteriorating living conditions, which also makes their psycho-emotional conditions more difficult.
Public Ombudsman calls for the “State Agency for Care and Trafficking Victims’ Assistance, a real individual work with the elderly at “Tbilisi Elderly Boarding House” and ensure their psycho-emotional preparation for the upcoming changes with the involvement of appropriate specialists.
In the process of de-institutionalization, the elderly should be transferred to institutions where the standards of service and decent living conditions will be protected and do not allow their conditions to deteriorate.
The public Ombudsman continues to monitor the process of deinstitutionalisation of the institution.