In the City there are 26 homes designed to provide ongoing care for the elderly. Of these, only four "have some process of authorization”, the rest never even applied for the necessary permits. This information was provided by the Government Control Agency to the General Audit of the City of Buenos Aires (AGCBA, for its acronym in Spanish) when they prepared a report, approved in July of this year, of the Secretariat for the Elderly in the Ministry of Social Development of Buenos Aires.

As for the care these homes provide, in 2009 they cared for 1,515 people, the city watchdog examined the “meal delivery” in 13 of the 26 institutions. Of these samples it was observed that while the food arrives in the "indicated containers" the transfer of the food is made from the town of Caseros, in the province of Buenos Aires, to the Homes in the Capital. For the auditors, "this means that the temperatures are not the adequate temperatures. In addition, 25% of the vehicles transporting meals did not have the corresponding authorization."

Furthermore, the report adds that "in 83% of the cases (analyzed), the entrees weighed less than they were expected to, with variations between 30 and 60% of the indicated portions, half of the main courses were also lower than the agreed upon weight, and, in (terms of) the desserts, 70% of cases had a lighter weight. "

Of the 26 existing homes, 10 are owned by the State of Buenos Aires and the remaining 16 work through agreements with other institutions. The Audit says none of those places has hired insurance liability for accidents, which are established in the regulations. And, meanwhile, the Unit for Management Control and Registration of Residential Homes for Older Adults (UGCOR, for its acronym in Spanish), told the comptroller that these "day homes are not registered in the National Register because they would not fit in that category since what they actually have is a recreational center." AGCBA concludes that this "leaves a void in accountability and control" of day time homes.

The Secretariat of the Third Age also provides financial assistance for the elderly to rectify housing costs (rent, expenses, and services). In this regard, the audit revealed that only 47% met the planned transfers, because although it is planned to provide subsidies to 1,850 people, it was only awarded to 887.

In addition, between January 2009 and May 2010, "follow-up evaluations of the grantees were not conducted because of a lack of specific personnel," in reference to Social Workers. The AGCBA adds that only in mid-2010 they "restarted (these tasks) but with unpaid interns who are students in the University of the Federal Police."

According to the watchdog, these interns, who do not have a proper degree, perform the follow ups of the subsidies under the supervision of "one of the social workers program" of the Secretariat of the Third Age, "however, the house checks are done without the presence  of the supervisor. To make matter worse, according to the audit, "the program does not use any other method to verify the vulnerability of the beneficiaries".

The audit analyzed the files of 92 aspiring subsidies and concluded that these papers "did not have sufficient information to make an evaluation." What data is missing? Practically everything, "94% of the files lack of total monetary household income (of the elderly), which is the data necessary to determine the degree of economic vulnerability of the beneficiary."

Geriatric Home Assistance and Hospital Care 

In addition to the day time homes and the subsidies, the Secretariat for the Elderly provides home and hospital care to the most vulnerable local elders.

Or at least that's the idea. The audit noted that the objective of this initiative was to serve 1,488 people in 2009 and yet only 704 people, 47% of predicted, were treated. In the Department, they attributed this "reduced activity" to "failure to update the amount that is payable to geriatric auxiliary" because, well, you do not have the staffing required to provide.

But the watchdog highlights a curious aspect of the topic. The report says: "It should be added that these auxiliary geriatrics have no contractual relationship with the City Government, far from it for them to develop their work, they sign a memorandum of agreement and a lease agreement with the recipient of the service, who then has to approve the quality (of care) received, the State is only paying" for the benefits.

According to the AGCBA, "the fact that this type of contract exists should not prevent the quality control of the provision (by the state)." Meanwhile, the research shows that the Secretariat of the Third Age "took note" of the observations and stated that they will "develop a protocol to perform quality control" of care that is provided to the elderly.