Fri | Sep 22, 2017

'Don't abuse the elderly'

Published:Saturday | October 1, 2016 | 10:00 AM

Acting Executive Director of the National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSC) Cassandra Morrison is imploring Jamaicans to take care of their elderly relatives and not abuse them.

She noted that the country's seniors are valuable contributors to national development and that the NCSC sees them as "resources to Jamaica and not as burdens".

Morrison said that Jamaica, like other countries around the world, faces the issue of elderly abuse.

She informed that six cases had been reported to the council since April, but estimated that the figure may be higher as incidents often go unreported.

Two of the cases were related to sibling control over parents' assets.

Morrison said that globally, one in every 10 senior citizen experiences some kind of abuse. Those perpetrating the abuse are usually relatives or persons close to the elderly.

"We find that senior citizens don't often report this. It's an issue of pride. It is taken as a failure on their part to not be able to provide for themselves. There is also the fear of the repercussions," she pointed out.

Morrison added that these elderly persons would prefer to remain in abusive situations than to be taken to what is commonly referred to as 'poor house'. Elderly abuse refers to any form of mistreatment that results in harm or loss to an older person.

TYPES OF ABUSE

It includes physical - slapping, hitting, inappropriate medication and physical restraint. Sexual - unwanted sexual touching or being coerced into sexual acts. Emotional - insulting, frightening, threatening, ignoring or isolating a senior. Financial - fraud, theft, misusing money or property, or putting pressure on seniors to gain access to their funds or property.

It is estimated that by 2050, close to 25 per cent of the world's population will be senior citizens.

Morrison noted that the majority of senior citizens are not dependent elderlies. "They are persons working and contributing to the society in meaningful ways, especially our members of Government," Morrison said.

September 25-October 1 is being recognised as Senior Citizens' Week.