Ethical Challenges in Ageing and Dementia were discussed during two seminars organized by the Department of Gerontology and Dementia Studies, Faculty for Social Wellbeing, within the University of Malta in collaboration with CareMalta Group, which this year is celebrating its 30th Anniversary with several initiatives that reflect the company’s ethos, that of commitment to the highest standards of care and compassion.

The keynote speaker, Prof. Chris Gastmans, a world-renowned professor in medical and healthcare ethics from KU Leuven, delved into topics like Dignity in Care, Ethics in the End of Life, Advanced Directives, and Euthanasia and Dementia. These lectures were complemented by panel discussions from local experts, Prof. Emanuel Agius, a professor in bioethics and Prof. David Mamo, a professor of geriatric psychiatry.

Prof. Gastmans explained how in a world where ageing populations are increasing, the challenges associated with ageing and dementia are growing at an unprecedented rate.

Multidisciplinary health and social professionals together with other stakeholders in the field as well as the Minister for the Elderly and Active Ageing, Hon. Mr Jo Etienne Abela and the Shadow Minister for the Elderly, Hon. Dr. Paula Mifsud Bonnici, attended and actively engaged in discussions on crucial issues relating to ethics in ageing and dementia, ensuring that our elderly and dementia-affected loved ones receive the care and respect they deserve.

The seminars addressed a range of critical topics; Dignity in Care – highlighting the need for a caring environment that respects and upholds the dignity not only of the person as an individual but the dignity of the person in relation to the world around them. Ethics in the End of Life – explored the delicate subject of end-of-life decisions and the ethical dilemmas that often arise, Advanced Directives, was another topic discussed, offering guidance on how individuals can have their preferences for care formally documented and honoured – an essential aspect of ethical caregiving.

Lastly, during this seminar, the issue of Euthanasia and Dementia was addressed. This topic opened a dialogue on the moral and legal implications surrounding end-of-life choices for older persons with dementia.

By collaborating together through both seminars, the Department for Gerontology & Dementia Studies within the Faculty for Social Wellbeing at the University of Malta and CareMalta Group managed to create a crucial opportunity to delve into the ethical challenges and foster a deeper understanding of how one can better serve those who are most vulnerable in society, and to serve as a catalyst for a positive change, fostering an environment where ethical challenges are met with compassion.