THE number of older people in institutions and the number with disabilities is growing in line with expected growth in the number of people aged 75 and over.
And the Fiji Council of Social Services says the number of older people being left to fend for themselves as children either leave the rural areas to migrate overseas in search for better lives and jobs for financial betterment is also growing.
It said these situations have given rise to concern about health costs, appropriateness of care especially cultural appropriateness, and the quality of care in institutions.
"Family members and relatives need to visit their elderly folks in senior citizens homes," it said in its report on Age Demands Action 2012 Fiji Consultations. The report was presented to the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau in Suva yesterday by FCOSS.
It said the number of people living in residential care was the legacy of an era when this was seen as the answer to the problems of older people.
The FCOSS report said the government-owned and managed "old people's homes" in Suva, Lautoka and Labasa were set-up to cater for those expatriate workers from India who could not return after the indenture labour system ended.
"Today the emphasis is on maintaining older people at home for as long as possible," it said.
"However, there will always be instances when the overall physical and mental condition of the older person means that continued care at home places unreasonable burdens on all concerned.
"When this point has been reached, it is especially important that older people be placed in a setting which is appropriate to their physical needs while promoting their independence and quality of life.
"The choice of residential service should be left to the seniors themselves," the FCOSS report stated.