Categorized | Featured, National News

Increase In Elderly Abuse


A top Social Services official yesterday confirmed that the number of senior citizens who are being abused has increased with many of them being abandoned, neglected and exploited.

The increase has prompted officials at the Ministry of Social Services to take action.

Social Services Minister Melanie Griffin on Monday said years of exposure is bringing about awareness of the needs and abuse of the elderly.

“We have been seeing an increase enough to raise a flag,” she said. “It is a cause for concern in terms of this. Whenever there is a downturn in the economy and times get difficult we find that the most vulnerable among us are those that are impacted first.”

“So seniors or elder persons are no different and we have been seeing a level of neglect and abandonment as well as problems with their finances where the younger persons in their homes would come and take control.”

According to Mrs. Griffin, her department has received reports that some older people, who might have had some source of income, were being taken advantage of by their younger family members who spend their money on everything other than the elder’s needs.

She added that while the numbers might be small the department’s mandate is to expose and bring to justice any perpetrator of abuse towards the country’s “precious pearls.”

According to Chairman of the National Council for Older Persons Juliette Barnwell it is time for the government to move new legislation to protect this sector of society.

“We would like for government one day to consider this legislation because like other segments of the society we have abuse of the elderly, both financial and physical.

“Since becoming a member of the council I have learned a lot and there is so much to be done for and about older persons in this society and we have to take stock of hoe we treat our older persons.”

Mrs. Barnwell said one of the ways Bahamians can begin to show their appreciation for those who have paved the way is by taking part in the activities planned for Older Persons Month in October.

International Day for Older Persons will be observed on Monday October 1, under the theme “Longevity: Shaping the Future.”

Throughout October the Ministry of Social Services has planned a number of activities beginning with an annual church service on October 1 at the Kemp Road Union Baptist Church.

Other activities include a symposium on exploitation of the elderly, a seniors’ dance, a Nation Builders Awards Ceremony and the official opening of the Demetrius Center for Older Persons on October 29.

According to the Latin American and Caribbean Demographic Centre the numbers of people age 60 or older will triple by 2050.

Mrs. Griffin encouraged anyone with information on the abuse of an elderly person to report the case to the ministry’s Senior Citizens Unit or national hotline.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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