President: Abuse of the elderly appalling

Abuse of the el­der­ly is an ap­palling, but un­for­tu­nate­ly, per­va­sive vi­o­la­tion of hu­man rights and dig­ni­ty.

So said Pres­i­dent Paula-Mae Weekes in a mes­sage in ob­ser­vance of World El­der Abuse Aware­ness Day.

World El­der Abuse Aware­ness Day seeks to high­light the in­jus­tices of­ten met­ed out to old­er per­sons world­wide in the form of phys­i­cal, fi­nan­cial, psy­cho­log­i­cal, and even sex­u­al abuse.

She said many old­er per­sons have their pen­sions, land and oth­er pos­ses­sions stolen by care­givers, strangers and sad­ly, some­times by their own rel­a­tives; oth­ers are beat­en, ver­bal­ly abused and gen­er­al­ly tak­en ad­van­tage of, while in the care of nurs­ing homes or oth­er in­sti­tu­tions.

The Unit­ed Na­tions es­ti­mates that ap­prox­i­mate­ly one in six old­er per­sons is a vic­tim of abuse—a fig­ure that is pre­dict­ed to rise sub­stan­tial­ly as glob­al pop­u­la­tions con­tin­ue to age.

The Pres­i­dent said with 12 per cent of its pop­u­la­tion over 60, T&T is con­sid­ered to have an age­ing pop­u­la­tion.

she said Its knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence make this de­mo­graph­ic a valu­able re­source and where age and ill­ness have tak­en their toll, its mem­bers must nev­er­the­less be cher­ished and sup­port­ed in recog­ni­tion of their con­tri­bu­tion to so­ci­ety.

She said, "Giv­en Trinidad and To­ba­go’s age­ing pop­u­la­tion, it serves us well to en­sure that we cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment that is con­ducive to the health and well-be­ing of our el­ders and their full par­tic­i­pa­tion in our so­ci­ety, ever mind­ful that one day it will be our turn."

The Pres­i­dent said while the Min­istry of So­cial De­vel­op­ment and Fam­i­ly Ser­vices, through its Di­vi­sion of Age­ing, is pri­mar­i­ly re­spon­si­ble for mat­ters af­fect­ing our el­ders, every cit­i­zen has a du­ty to treat old­er per­sons with re­spect and dig­ni­ty and to re­port sit­u­a­tions in which they are be­ing ill-treat­ed or oth­er­wise de­prived of their rights.

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