By The Star Staff
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said earlier this week that it hurts his soul to see abandoned elderly citizens, so he asked government officials to redouble their efforts on the matter.
“Right now, I would say, we’re facing a problem with the elderly. In other words, abandonment of the elderly; that hurts me in the soul,” the governor said Wednesday in response to questions from the press. “It is something that I have instructed my entire team to seek funds to increase the capacity of the long-term care homes that we have in Puerto Rico and also to continue giving more funds to municipalities, among others, for the housekeeping service.”
“I want that if we have to reprogram funds, we do it because I identify that area as an area in which I have seen a change; that is, there are more elderly people who are being abandoned in hospitals. That’s outrageous,” he added. “I also said let’s look at the possibility of increasing penalties for close relatives of elderly people who basically abandon them, again, mistreat them. We need to see how we can increase those penalties or make it more clear what those responsibilities of the immediate family are.”
Pierluisi said that in some cases, the relatives of the elderly assume financial custody, but then abandon them in care centers and do not provide funds.
“There are times when the government has to assume the entire cost of this care when the person has income,” he said. “What happens is that they [family members] have seized it. That’s outrageous. In other words, I am outraged that this is happening, and I have asked the Family secretary, my legislative team in La Fortaleza, to evaluate the possibility of legislating to deter and prevent these behaviors from occurring in Puerto Rico.”