Care For The Elderly Geriatric Medicine & Abuse Prevention
 

Month: December 2019

Workers’ Party (Sweden)

The Workers’ Party (Arbetarpartiet) is a Socialist political party in Sweden. It was founded in 2010, when almost the entire Vasterbotten County section of the Socialist Justice Party (RS) broke off ahead of the 2010 general election. It adopted the name Rattvisepartiet Socialisterna enhetslista for jobb – mot nedskarningar (Socialist Justice Party Unity list for jobs – against cutbacks) for its party list. In early 2011, it was renamed the Workers’ Party. It currently holds two seats in the municipal assembly of Umea (since 2014). The Workers’ Party publishes the New Workers’ Journal (Nya Arbetartidningen).

The party labels itself democratic socialist. The goal is to participate in building a new workers’ party that struggles for democratic control over the financial institutions and corporations that direct the economy.

Party members have a history of conducting policies that benefit workers employed in public services such as healthcare and elderly care. Elderly care workers and party members cooperated in organising four waves of warning strikes against cutbacks in 2000, 2001 and 2005.

Since the 2010 elections, a regular part in the party’s policies has been to push for the need for investment in green industrial production.

Yiya Murano

Previously, we talked about a public servant called Ylva Johansson, who performed several roles in the Swedish government, including one relating to elderly care and improved quality of life in the aging population.

Today it’s almost the opposite – a murderer who ended up depending upon elderly care services and support. As a near polar opposite, comparison of the two stories demonstrates how two individuals can offer such a different contribution to society, yet end up being linked.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say, with a little commentary of our own included.


Maria de las Mercedes Bernardina Bolla Aponte de Murano (20 May 1930 – 26 April 2014), better known as Yiya Murano, and also referred to as the Poisoner of Monserrat was an Argentinian serial killer and swindler. Convicted of three murders, she was imprisoned for 16 years before being sent to an elderly care facility to serve out the remainder of her sentence, due to her advanced age.

That obviously blows out of the water the stereotype of offenders being young down and out criminals.

Nilda Gamba, a neighbor of Murano’s died on 10 February 1979. On 19 February, Murano’s friend, Leila Chicha Formisano de Ayala, died. Murano owed money to both women, and both bodies showed signs of cyanide poisoning.

It’s hardly a crime of the moment, such attacks would need a huge degree of planning to execute. It’s clearly an act in cold blood.

On 24 March 1979, Murano’s cousin, Carmen Zulema del Giorgio de Venturini, fell and died on the stairs of a building on Hipolito Yrigoyen Street, where she lived. Zulema’s death was initially attributed to cardiac arrest. Zulema’s daughter found that a promissory note worth 20 million Argentine peso ley was missing from her mother’s belongings. The building’s doorman said that Murano arrived for a visit carrying a mysterious package (which was later discovered to contain masas finas), and had casually asked for a copy of the keys to Zulema’s apartment keys, saying, “I need her notebook to warn her relatives”. Murano entered her cousin’s apartment and left quickly, carrying papers and a jar. She complained loudly: “My God, it’s my third friend to die in a short time!” During the autopsy, examiners discovered cyanide in Zulema’s body. Investigators discovered the poison in the jar mentioned by the doorman, and in the masas finas.

It’s rather brazen to announce the passing of three friends as such a coincidence, perhaps a glimpse of the nature of the individual’s state of mind.

On 27 April 1979, the police arrested Murano at her home on Mexico Street. In 1980, she was found unconscious in the prison where she was being held; later, they removed one of Murano’s lungs.

Murano was convicted in 1985, during the Trial of the Juntas. She insisted upon her innocence, saying: “I never invited anyone to eat.”

Murano was released from prison after 16 years. It was learned that she sent the judges who released her a box of chocolates as a token of her appreciation.

I suspect the recipient of that gift would not be inclined to consume those chocolates, given the past crimes.

Argentinian writer Marisa Grinstein included Murano in her book Mujeres Asesinas (Killer Women). In 2006, an episode of the Canal 13 television series of the same name featured a recreation of Murano’s crimes. At the end of the episode, the real Yiya Murano appeared and proclaimed her innocence, citing evidence.

The second season of Mujeres Asesinas, the Mexican adaptation of the series, featured an episode based on Murano entitled “Tita Garza, Swindler,” starring Patricia Reyes Spindola.

Ylva Johansson


Image by/from Frankie Fouganthin

Most governments around the world have politicians to represent the elderly.

It may be that these responsibilities form part of a wider role, however some nations are better than others at allocating time and resources to the elderly, especially when it comes to addressing specific needs for support.

One great example of a politician taking on a role of this nature is Ylva Johansson of Sweden. Let’s look a little closer at her achievements.


Ylva Julia Margareta Johansson (born 13 February 1964) is a Swedish politician who served as Minister for Employment in the Swedish Government from 2014 to 2019. She previously served as Minister for Schools from 1994 to 1998 and as Minister for Welfare and Elderly Healthcare from 2004 to 2006. She has been a member of the Swedish Riksdag since 2006.

In addition to public service in politics, Ylva has led a career dedicated to helping other, particularly in the field of teaching.

Ylva Johansson studied at Lund University and the Stockholm Institute of Education 1983-88 and 1991-92 and holds a Master of Science in education. Upon graduating, she worked as math, physics and chemistry teacher.

In the 1988 general elections Johansson was elected as a member of the Riksdag for the Left Party – Communists (VPK). She later left the party and joined the Social Democrats.

From 1992 to 1994 Johansson worked as a teacher, until Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson made her Minister for Schools in his government. In 1998, she and the then Minister for Finance Erik Asbrink announced their wish to “publicly confirm that we are in love” and their intention to separate from their respective partners. Soon afterwards, Johansson left the government. The following years, she worked in the private sector.

In 2004, Prime Minister Goran Persson appointed Ylva Johansson to the government in a new position, as Minister for Health and Elderly Care, succeeding Lars Engqvist.

This was the period where she was known for her dedication to support and resolve the issue facing the more elderly members of the Swedish population.

From 2014, she served as Minister for Employment in the government of Prime Minister Stefan Lofven. During her time in office, she worked to tighten labor immigration laws.

In the 2013 Social Democrat party congress, the goal was set that Sweden should have the lowest rate of unemployment in the EU. While the Social Democrats and Green Party were in power, unemployment decreased more in other EU countries than Sweden and by 2019, Sweden’s place in the unemployment ranking slipped to 18 with an unemployment rate of 6.2%, where the first spot was occupied by Czech Republic at 1.7%.

Following the 2019 European elections, Lofven nominated Johansson as Sweden’s candidate for the post of European Commissioner.

During a question & answer session in October 2019 in the European Parliament, Johansson was asked on whether Swedish policy on gang crime and migration would be exported to the EU level. Johansson responded that she was “proud that Sweden received so many refugees”. Due to Johansson’s vague answers on her ideas about an EU asylum and migration policy would be handled in practical terms. Instead of being approved she was asked to return with answers to the questions left unanswered in the session.

Johansson has been described as the “left wing of the Social Democrats.”

In March 2018, Johansson appeared on the BBC, where she claimed that the number of reported rapes and sexual harassment cases in Sweden “is going down and going down and going down.” Johansson later apologized and admitted that the opposite is true.

Johansson has two children with her former husband Bo Hammar and a son with Erik Asbrink. She an honorary member of Hammarby football club.

Young carer


Image by/from Produnis

Many of the world’s elderly are cared for by members of their family, friends or other good Samaritans. Inevitably, that means that carers are often unpaid, and almost always younger than the person they look after.

Let’s find out a little more about young carers, with some discussion from Wikipedia with our commentary below.


A young carer is a young person who cares, unpaid, for a person who has any type of physical or mental illness, physical and/or mental disability or misuses substances such as alcohol or drugs. The age of a young carer is different between countries. In Australia a young carer is a person under the age of 25 years old.

While Australia defines a young carer as someone responsible up to the age of twenty five, other countries have no such definition. In other countries, such as the UK, the term is used for those offering help up to the age of 18, so generally refers to children looking after parents.

The roles taken on by a young carer are exhaustive and are carried out often behind closed doors on top of the normal pressures of a young persons life. The care they give may be practical, physical, and emotional. Responsibilities may range from providing practical support such as helping to cook, clean or wash, giving personal care, emotional support, providing medication or helping with financial chores.

The person they care for may be a parent, a partner, their own child, a sibling, another family member, a friend or someone who does not necessarily live in the same house as them.

When carers are of school age, especially those looking after parents, it will inevitably impact on their education. In countries where schooling is commonplace, this will typically mean days absent, with a significant proportion of lessons missed.

There are support programs to assist young carers both emotionally and financially with day-to-day tasks and making decisions. These programs offer face-to-face counselling, online programs, and phone helplines.

There are estimated to be around 272,000 young carers in Australia. Each Australian state and territory has a carer association that assists unpaid young carers and can be reached on 1800 242 636. The Young Carers Network is a national website that provides young carers with information on their local support services, helpful resources and a platform to share their story and opinions.

Again, while Australia is well documented, the problems associated with young carers apply around the globe, with the same issues cropping up time and time again.

There are estimated to be around 700,000 young carers in the UK which is approximately 1 in every 12 teenagers and around 2 in every classroom. Some support programmes for young carers have been cut due to austerity. The amount of support young carers get varies from area to area and is subject to a postcode lottery.

The issue in the UK is becoming more recognised, with awareness efforts appearing in places including doctors surgeries and libraries to advise those affected how to seek additional help and support.