Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Elder Abuse and What can we do about it

I am giving below an extract of AISCCON Monthly Letter for June 2013 by Sri RN Mital, President of AISCCON. This extract gives a brief idea about Elder Abuse scene and suggests what we can do about it. ==============
                   Jyestha Nagrik Bhavan, Plot No 7C, Sector 12, Nerul (West), Navi Mumbai                     


 To the AISCCON Central Council members and Patrons,  other eminent Senior Citizens and well wishers.

June10, 2013
                                                   Monthly letter
Dear friends,
Increasing  Acts of Cruelty and Violence against Senior Citizens –  senior citizens returning after attending an event organized to create awareness of Elder Abuse noticed on the local Railway Station in Hyderabad a lady of around 80  weeping bitterly, on enquiry it was found that she had been thrown out of the house by her daughter-in-law, she did not know where to go:

Only a few days ago two daughters (?) in Vizag dumped their very old dumb mother  in a Police Station claiming that they found that woman on a highway. -------------------- Such acts of cruelty are not isolated cases.                        

According to a report in "The Hindu" dated 29th May 2013 a lady aged about 95 years was taken out of the house by her third son and left in the open street. She was lying on the bare floor of the road, in the scorching heat for four days. When the neighbours questioned her son, they were warned not to interfere in their family matters,:                  

A friend of ours is bedridden for the last four years living in abject poverty while his well to do son is leading comfortable life in another city. Father is not prepared to take any legal action against his son. 

These are not freak instances, they are regularly happening, only very few of them are reported.
To give you a few more examples I may quote a report in the media that on an average two elders are found abandoned daily in Chennai alone.
In Hyderabad we know of at least  two old age homes which specialize in giving shelter to elders found abandoned in temples, hospitals or even on highways. They send out periodically teams to hospitals to look for such abandoned elders.
It is reported that 15,000 elders were abandoned last year by their families in the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad. 

There can be no worse cruelty than throwing out or  abandoning an old  helpless and very often disabled person. Such acts of cruelty are becoming more frequent with the  parents and grand parents living longer with their families and with rising cost of living.. The situation becomes worse as during the last phase of their life they usually suffer with terminal diseases and/or various disabilities. Something has to be done against this situation. In a discussion on this subject in the Association of Senior Citizens of Hyderabad, following suggestions came up,
            1 Register yourself with the Senior Citizens' Help Line in your City to contact you if a case of abandonment or torture of an elderly is noticed.
            2. If you are able to identify the family of the elder try to convince them to take back the elder if need be with some contribution from your Association, otherwise try to locate a suitable Old Age Home with the help of the District Administration and/or Help Age. Involve Help Age from the beginning as they are doing yeoman's service in this regard.
           3. If the family of the Elder is not co-operative, take up the issue under the MWPSC Act.
           4. Unfortunately the MWPSC Act has not become operational in all States and the punishment provided in it for abandoning one's parents is not effective as a deterrent.
           5.We have to take up at AISCCON level with MOSJE and the NHRC to persuade the GOI to make the ACT more stringent  on the lines of the Domestic Violence Act and the SCST Act etc.
          6 Moreover, the mandate in the MWPSC Act to build an Old Age Home in each District for the poor having capacity to house 150 inmates must be complied with. It is very unfortunate that though 6 years have passed after the enactment of the MWPSC Act, it has been operationalised by very few States and not a single State has so far built the Old Age Homes for the poor as mandated in the Act.
Kindly let me know if you have any other suggestion to face this situation. 
Dr P Vyasamoorthy
30 Gruhalakshmi Colony Secunderabad 500015 Ph 040-27846631 / 9490804278

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