Social services for the elderly leave a lot to be desired, according to the results of a report, which shows that home help and telealarm services, as well as day centres, are well below the national average. Fernanda Caro, the Balearic minister for social welfare, revealed the results of the survey, compiled by a multdiiscipline team. It is based on 1'200 questionnaires put to people aged more than 65, and referring to 1996, when 113'083 persons (nearly 15 per cent of the population) in the Balearics were over that age. Caro described the report as a basic tool for drawing up a strategic plan for the elderly, and she promised that this would be done and provided with a budget before April. The home help service only reaches 2.2 per cent of the elderly, while the telealarm is used by less than half a per cent. Josefina Santiago, the director of the Balearic Institute of Social Welfare, said that all these percentages were way below the recommended levels which were between three and five per cent. The new plan will be aimed at correcting these faults. She went on to say that cardiovascular disease and cancer are the chief causes of death among the elderly, accounting for 43.4 and 21.2 per cent of deaths respectively. But the survey revealed that the main causes of concern among the elderly are cataracts, arthrosis, heart and respiratory problems and cholesterol. There are 11'000 people with Alzheimer's disease and 1'000 with Parkinson's, while 18 per cent of the elderly, particularly women, suffer incontinence.

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