‘Don’t abuse the el­derly’

Jamaica Gleaner - - ACROSS THE NATION -

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.


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.

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