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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Senator proposes package of measures to improve quality of life of the elderly

By The Star Staff

Culminating the “Month of the Elderly,” Sen. Keren Riquelme Cabrera, along with interim Family (DF) Secretary Ciení Rodríguez introduced a package of measures on Wednesday focused on improving the quality of life of the elderly in Puerto Rico.

In a ceremony held at the DF’s central offices, Riquelme stamped her signature on three pieces of legislation, all in favor of protecting rights and expanding the services received by people 65 and older, including those with special needs.

The first bill creates the “Law on the Support Program for the Elderly of Puerto Rico,” better known as PROSAM, with the objective of expediting pension payments to elderly members, one of the biggest complaints by members of the social sector. The measure also implements the creation of six new assistant prosecutor positions that will be responsible for representing PROSAM in the island’s courts.

On the island there is an obligation to pay a pension in favor of senior relatives when they require it to survive. The parties that are eligible to apply for the aid from their nuclear family are parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, over 60 years of age.

“Today we make history with the filing of this package of bills focused on improving the quality of life of older adults, those men and women who created the new Puerto Rico,” Riquelme said in a written statement. “With these measures we protect 740,489 (from the 2021 U.S. Census Bureau) people over the age of 65, nearly 24 percent of the population in Puerto Rico. They all address specific issues, remove loopholes in existing laws and create new platforms to support our seniors.”

“Our socio-demographic reality demands that we identify and work on new strategies to meet the needs of our seniors and people with disabilities in Puerto Rico,” Rodríguez added. “Therefore, we greatly appreciate the initiative of Senator Riquelme to work on a package of measures aimed at these populations.”

The other bill establishes that the DF will be obliged to maintain a register of care facilities for the elderly, on its official website, which contains the following designations: “In compliance” or “At risk,” and whether or not they have faced complaints related to situations of negligence or institutional abuse.

The last piece of legislation establishes the “Law to Establish the Process of Dignified Burial of the Indigent Person” so that any person who does not have resources at the time of death can be buried in a municipal cemetery free of charge.

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