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Elderly face untold abuse

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The plight of the elderly will be on the national agenda on Sunday, as people from around the globe mark World Elder Abuse awareness day. Launched In 2006 as a campaign to raise awareness to the ill treatment of the elderly, the day is observed in countries ranging from the USA, Japan, Uganda, Sweden, as well as South Africa.

Local elderly persons advocacy group Age in Action, looks to render support, access to care, as well as uphold the rights of elderly people, including those suffering under some form of abuse. They strongly advocate for awareness, against the scourge of abuse towards older members of the community.

The group’s provincial director, Irene Snell-Carroll said it was very important for an organisation like theirs to be rendering services to the elderly, as there was a notable trend of neglect towards older people in the community, even from within their own homes.

“They are being abused, sometimes from their own family members. Sometimes they live alone and are abused by other people within the community, from people who know they are living alone, instead of supporting them,” she said.

She said the situation was worsened by substance abuse, with many addicts taking advantage of older people they viewed as too weak to defend themselves.

According to Snell-Carroll, Age in Action were aiming to raise awareness, to make the community aware of what they could do to tackle abuse against the elderly, and also identify whether abuse was taking place, and why.

“There are a lot of factors that contribute to abuse in the communities. Sometimes there is a lack of strong family support. It may be caused by substance abuse. Sometimes there may even be a history of family violence in the community,” she explained.

Amongst the programmes conducted by Age in Action are awareness marches, in which the older community members themselves march through the community, to sensitise people to the issues and express their feelings.  They also hold regular training workshops in the community, as well as going to schools and addressing the issue with high school students.

For more information Age in Action and their various initiatives, call their offices at 021 426 4249 or email them at info@age-in-action.co.za. You can also visit their website at www.age-in-action.co.za. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)


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