Ending elder abuse

2017-06-20 06:00
 Photo: SuppliedMrs Ailsa Chandler and Sister Hilary Davis at Kloof Rest Home.

Photo: SuppliedMrs Ailsa Chandler and Sister Hilary Davis at Kloof Rest Home.

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KALISHA NAICKER

A SPIKE in elder abuse is a continuous problem not only in retirement homes, but also in the community. To highlight the plight of the problem, the United Nations declared June 15, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

 According to Kloof Rest Home Sister­ Hilary Davis (matron), when one thinks of abuse of the elderly, they often think of physical abuse, but there are many forms of abuse.

“When a person’s basic needs are not met, this is abuse, so the simple act of not getting someone water is abuse. These subtle forms of abuse are more common than physical abuse.

“Other forms of abuse are verbal – an example is name-calling - ‘you eat like a baby’, emotional – an example is threatening them ‘if you do that again I won’t visit you’, neglect - this is where the elderly is left without assistance­, financial abuse – where the elderly person’s pension or funds are used for the carers or family needs and not for the care of the person,” she said.

Davis said often they see the elderly person malnourished, dirty and neglected and their pension is spent on the family.

In addition to this, theft is also financial­ abuse, and sexual abuse.

She said active abuse is often easier to stop and control as the perpetrator knows what they are doing is wrong.

“In these cases, the abuse can be reported to the police or social services.
“The perpetrator will be charged. Passive abuse is more difficult to see and is often due to ignorance.
“In such cases, the family and/or carer needs training and support,” said Davis.

“The community can play a part in reducing elder abuse by reporting any abuse to the social worker at the community clinic.

“If a neighbour is being abused or there is knowledge of abuse it must be reported.
“In schools the children can be educated about the elderly during life orientation classes.” Davis said the value of elderly people must be uplifted so that children see them as valued members of our community.

“The contributions they have made during their working lives needs to be celebrated.”

She also urged the community to play their part in reducing elder abuse by joining Tafta in a peaceful march against elder abuse in Durban starting at the city hall, on Tuesday the 13 June, at 9am.

Tafta CEO Femada Shamam said: “The elderly are often the most forgotten and neglected members of society facing physical, psychological and even financial abuse.
“Therefore, it is essential to refocus people’s attention on the needs of the elderly because the welfare and protection of every vulnerable person is a shared responsibility.

 “Each of us have parents, grandparents and other elders, who are an important part of our lives.
“Tafta invites the public to take a stand in honour of our loved ones remembering that not every person is treated with care, respect and dignity in their old age.”

 For information on how you can get involved visit www.tafta.org.za or the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TAFTA.KZN/

 

 

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