Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Five Tips to Victims of Elder Abuse

Five Tips to Victims of Elder Abuse

When senior citizens are abused on account of their defenseless
position by younger relatives or others 'Elder Abuse' takes place.
Senior Citizens have less capacity to fight for their own rights
because of diminishing health, poor health conditions, poverty, loss
of memory, and lack of money, inability to adjust to the present
generation or ignorance. The abuse may be financial, emotional and
mental, physical including sexual, verbal or constant threatening etc.

The son pressurizing his old aged father to transfer his property, the
daughter neglecting to take care physically when one is bed ridden,
not providing food, harassing by hurling verbal abuses and insults,
beating, deserting, cheating by taking away the old man's money – all
these are examples of elder abuse.

The problem should be addressed all sections of the society like: the
senior citizens themselves, abusers, friends and relatives, senior
citizens associations, counseling centers, police, government
organizations, NGOs etc. Here I shall give a few tips to senior
citizens – what they can do all by themselves.

1. Senior citizens should empower themselves with facts, information
and data required to face and tackle abuse. They should have phone
numbers and addresses of lawyers, doctors, police, pressure groups,
counseling centers and the like. They should read up and discuss with
peers and be knowledgeable. Ignorance of rights and the law in
particular is harmful and places the senior citizen in a vulnerable
position. Recently a senior citizen wrote a will that his son may not
accept fully. The old man thought that he had a lawful duty to read
out the contents before sealing and giving it to the lawyer. This is
because his father had done so several decades ago.

2. Senior citizens should join several associations and peer groups
like walkers clubs, prayer groups Day Care Centers etc. When abuse
occurs they should openly discuss it with others without feeling shy
or ashamed. One of the greatest hurdles in handling abuse is the
non-co-operation by the affected individuals. They most often feel:
"How can I complain against my own children?"

3. Senior Citizens must make themselves financially sound and
independent. They should never give away their property to their wards
or disclose all their assets to everyone. Where feasible they should
not hesitate to take Reverse Mortgage Loan and ensure a steady flow on

4. Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007
comes to the rescue of senior citizens who do not have money to live
and have to depend upon their sons / daughters etc. by law the wards
who are likely to inherit the senior citizen's property may be forced
tp pay a monthly sum to the old man for livelihood. The tribunals set
up for this purpose must dispose off appeals within three months and
the monthly payments may be up to Rs 10000/- Lawyers are not allowed
to represent the senior citizen. Senior Citizens Associations may help
file petitions. If the senior citizen is abandoned then the son
(abuser) may be sent to jail for three months. Indigent senior citizen
should not fight shy of making use of these provisions in law.

5. Taking recourse to legal provisions should be the last resort.
Having anger alone or standing on one's prestige alone is not enough.
Civil Suits take years to get decided and lot of time & time are
wasted. In my opinion only two people should go to court: the insane
and the lawyer, the first because he has nothing to loose and the
latter because ha can not afford not to. If one is dragged into a law
suit then it is a different matter. A senior citizen known to me is
bent upon filing a case because his daughter in law refuses to cook
for him!

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