Today 15th June being ‘World Elder Abuse Awareness Day’, I would like to bring into the open the most subdued topic “Abuse of Elders”
Elderly abuse is one of the most common and neglected form of abuse! Emotional, verbal and phsycial abuse of elders in the house has been constantly prevailing and cases have been increasing ever since the pandemic gripped nations and the subsequent lockdowns forced the young and old together in their abode whole day.
- Due to their age related woes, elderly tend to do things slowly and constantly require assistance. This creates frustration in those who are restless and always on the go.
- They have illness, lethargy and memory issues which requires a lot of patience and practcailty while dealing with them. Unfortunately this is not the scenario with the the young who refuse to empatise with their issues and cooperate.
- Older people are soft target as the young tend to take out all their frustration on them without any repentance. In many cases, the old are considered a burden or menace in the house. As the aged are quiet and fearful, others repeat the abuse cycle with no conscious thinking about their actions. The abuse is sadistic with no remorse expressed or apologies made.
- The old are dependent on their children and are truly helpless which aggravates their suffering in silence. Many elderly couples are more concerned to protect the honour of the family and blatantly refuse to bad name or shame their children in public by bringing out the wrong doings. This encourages the vicious cycle of torture.
- They have fixed traditional ways of living and thinking with age-old beliefs they hold deeply. The younger generation refuse to adjust or pay heed to their philosophy of life and rubbish their advice in the modern times.
Despondently most abused elders are living in fear, depression and sadness that increase their health problems. Their well-being is being compromised and neglected. They silently await their death and the deep secrets of abuse are buried inside them.
Just remember 3 things
- They are at an age, where their mental health is very fragile. They might be behaving wrong, because of some issues. Age related weakness and frustrations tend to make them more irritated and they will not realise it.Depression, anxiety & dementia are common. When these are cured, their personality immediately changes to a more loving one. Bear with them, tolerate and empathise. Offer constant support and care.
- Abusing them verbally or physically is wrong for you. Because it only increases your stress levels. They will go into a shell and suffer in silence.
- Remember they loved you unconditionally when you were a child. They fed you, taught you how to walk & took you to the bathroom.
It is time to repay back!
They never left or gave up on you when you were young, now it is your turn. Even though we are busy growing up let us not forget they are growing old simultaneously. Promise yourself to take care of their well-being, as if you take care of a small child! Give them the care and affection they once bestowed on you.
Here are small acts of thoughtfulness towards the elders:
- A simple phone call or video call inquiriying about their safety and health will make their day.
- Visit your parents and support them with grocery purchase if not living together.
- Offer to take them for health check-ups and ensure their access to proper medication.
- Ensure they get sufficient rest, sleep and are maintaining a health diet and simple exercise regime.
- Shower them with greetings ,cuddles and kisses, gifts, surprise celebrations on important days of their life such as birthdays or anniversaries. Additionally, let showers of affection not be limited to only occasions.
- Let the grandchildren mingle with the grandparents as they would rejoice and learn from their experienced lessons and advice. Plainly let them enjoy each other’s company.
If you come across an elder who is being abused, neglected, or exploited, tell at least one person. Tell your doctor, a friend, or a family member whom you trust or report the abuse to an NGO or dial a helpline. If you witness future incidences of continued abuse of an older adult don’t hesitate to report the situation.
Althaf Ali & Alvina Clara
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