Legal protection of the rights of older persons against ageism

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Human beings go through stages of vulnerability during their evolution and development. Old age is one of these. The rights of older persons are acknowledged to a certain degree but have not yet been developed into an integral system like the rights of other groups, for instance the handicapped, have. Spanish legislation contemplates the rights of older persons to guarantee their social protection. The objective of this paper is to reveal the need of a single unified law to guarantee these rights. For this purpose, existing Spanish legislation has been reviewed, finding the underlying principles of this protection is based in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In current times older persons have ceased to be respected by their age and social position and sometimes find themselves socially excluded or legally unprotected. This circumstance claims a solution to avoid illtreatment. It calls for an institutional solution: the drafting of a charter of rights of the older person which would avoid behaviours that disregard this group, harming their dignity as individuals. It is difficult for older persons to gain respect for their participation as citizens because their social conditions are not equal to that of the rest of citizens who are allowed to make their rights effective and thus ensure their respect.