A stand against elder abuse

2017-06-27 06:00
Hundreds walk against elder abuse ahead of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.Photo: supplied

Hundreds walk against elder abuse ahead of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.Photo: supplied

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FOLLOWING the article published in Hillcrest Fever last week highlighting Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, hundreds of community members took to the streets of the Durban CBD to walk with The Association for the Aged (Tafta) supporting the rights of elderly.

According to a media release sent out by Tafta, attendees at the march walked from the Durban City Hall bearing posters and chanting against the abuse, neglect and exploitation of elders.

An 80-year-old Kloof resident Mrs D. Singh said she was pleased with the turn-out for the walk.
“There are many times were elder abuse is not taken seriously and we overlook it. It is time our rights are highlighted. The elderly have feelings too.”

Adelaide Valashiya (76), who joined the march, said she felt empowered that the awareness walk created a platform for the elderly to have their voices heard.

“Today we feel we are free. We are tired of the physical abuse, misuse of our pension and broken hearts. Today we stand together and voice our rights,” says Valashiya.

Kloof Rest Home Sister Hilary Davis (matron) said there are many forms of abuse.
“When 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 of this is name calling ‘you eat like a baby’, emotional – an example of this is threatening them ‘if you do that again I won’t visit you again’, neglect - this is where the elderly is left without assistance, financial abuse – where the elderly persons 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 elderly people who are malnourished, dirty and neglected and their pensions are spent on the family.

In addition, theft is also a form of financial abuse, and there is sexual abuse.
She said active abuse is easier to stop and control as the perpetrator knows what they are doing is wrong.

She said it is important for the public to be aware of the prevalence of these incidents in order to recognise the signs of abuse, and report it.

Tafta CEO Femada Shamam was quoted in the release saying that the abuse and neglect of elder persons is largely under-recognised and often treated as an unspoken problem, which makes the day important for raising awareness and sensitising society to this issue.

“There is often the misconception that elder abuse occurs only within specific communities or under unique circumstances, but no community is immune to this as it affects elders from all walks of life,” read the release. For more information, visit www.tafta.org.za

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