Over 20,000 elderly live in “illegal care homes”

In the last six months, social services have had to close down 43 old people’s homes due to their lack of conditions. Seven were closed “as a matter of urgency”.

The situation highlights the precarious nature of care for the elderly in Portugal.

According to data advanced by the association that provides domestic support in both private houses and those caring for old people, Portugal has around 20,000 OAPs being looked after in 2,100 ‘illegal care homes’.

The number of so-called “clandestine units” is practically equal to that of legal care homes, writes tabloid Correio da Manhã. The difference is that there are far more people in the legal homes – almost as many as 90,000 in 2,315 residential centres – and monthly expenses in illegal homes are generally cheaper than for their legal counterparts – around €600 per month, as opposed to anything from €750.

As newspapers concentrate today on the number of homes shut down this year, social services give the news a different slant: of 890 inspections, only 56 failed the grade: 43 old people’s homes and 13 children’s creches.

The news came on the same day that national tabloid Correio da Manhã described an horrific alleged murder in an illegal home in Lisbon: the adopted daughter of the owner, himself bedridden, is described as having faked a robbery to get her boyfriend to kill her stepfather and steal his gold and money.

Investigating the incident, PJ detectives came upon four elderly people in bed in an adjoining room.

None of them had apparently been aware of either the break-in or subsequent killing of the elderly man in the room next door, and the residential property was not classified as a care home.

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