World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was marked all over the world on Monday June 15. It was a brilliant opportunity for all to pause and reflect on the degree of the atrocious crime of abuse of older persons in the society.
In her address Uchenna Idoko, Executive Director, Center for Gender Economics, Lagos, Nigeria, beamed searchlight on the abuse and neglect of older persons around the world.
The address, emphasized that this abuse takes place in the home, in the workplace, and in institutions that are supposed to care for the elderly. And what is worse, perpetrators are very so often close family members.
Elder abuse is prevalent – it occurs in every social, economic, indigenous and geographic setting. It happens in our communities without many of us knowing about it.
According to WHO Elder abuse takes diverse forms: abandonment by family members, physical violence, financial fraud, scams, theft, inadequate care or absolute neglect in homes, and all categories of discrimination.
Regrettably, we will never know the magnitude of elder abuse, this is because so many cases go unreported. Indeed, many older persons suffer in silence, afraid to report abuse because of shame and fear, especially if it concerns family members on whom they are dependent.
Older women are especially vulnerable to abuse and violence because of discriminatory societal attitudes and non-realization of human rights. This is often exacerbated by poverty and lack of access to legal protection. In Nigeria, harmful traditional practices result in abuse and violence of older women.
This year Center for Gender Economics is observing WEAAD by celebrating the positive contributions of older women in our communities. Society neglects the elderly and celebrates youth. They are constantly reminded that they are no longer beautiful and have long become a burden to family and society.
CGE Africa with support from Global Affairs Canada and Action Aid Nigeria is shining the light on these women whose shoulders generations have climbed on to rise. With the aim to emphasize on their rights to joy by building their confidence, and self-care consciousness.
Elderly persons are essential in the fabric of any society. It’s time for us to acknowledge their importance and identify that they are entitled to the respect of their communities and especially their families.
CGE held a photo-shoot themed BEAUTY IN EXPERIENCE with four elderly women who are their project Right holders In Itedo community of Lagos State to mark the occasion.
These women’s life experiences had been that of hard work, life struggles, sacrifice, and resilience, they are all widows whose rights needs to be protected and their well-being supported.
CGE with support from Global Affairs Canada and Actionaid Nigeria, is implementing a project titled Promoting Socio-Economic Inclusion of Elderly Women through Wellbeing Parties in Itedo Community, Lagos State.
CGE Africa demands that all concerned citizens, work to end elder abuse and promote the rights of elders.
What can be done?
- Speak out against this terrible crime in the communities, and society at large.
- Confront ageism.
- Report suspected elder person’s abuse.
- Listen to the voices of older persons. They may be trying to share their experience.
- Let elders know that it is not OK to be abused. It is a violation of their human rights.
- Strengthen laws against elder persons’ abuse and bring perpetrators to justice.
- Expand services for victims.
- Use of new technologies to protect older persons from abuse.
- Better data to track elder abuse in order to address the problem.
Nigeria and Africa at large must be free from elder persons’ abuse.