NASSAU – Although the number of reported cases of abuse against the elderly are low, Social Services Minister Melanie Griffin said there has been a notable rise in cases in the last few months, which raises concerns about the welfare of the elderly.
“While the number has not been high and we do not have any scientific figures, we do know that the number is enough now to raise a flag and to cause some concern,” Griffin said yesterday during a press conference announcing various activities in celebration of Older Persons Month.
“Just as with children and any other vulnerable group, we will find particularly in difficult economic times that the most vulnerable among us are the ones that suffer the most, and the elderly is one such grouping that would suffer in terms of neglect.”
Griffin noted that there is both financial and physical abuse of the elderly, but the former is more prevalent.
“We find that there will be some financial abuse, where you find that the younger ones in the family may decide that they want to take control of whatever finances they have and spend it the way they want to spend it, and not particularly on the elderly, so you find this type of abuse in the household. But it is basically neglect and abandonment.”
Chairman of the National Council on Older Persons Juliette Barnwell said there needs to be some sort of legislation to protect older people.
“It is very, very important that we bring to the front of Bahamian society the need to care for our older persons,” Barnwell said.
Griffin said the ministry is exploring the introduction of legislation that would provide care and protection for the elderly in The Bahamas.
Older Persons Month starts October 1 and Griffin noted that there are a number of activities planned to bring exposure to the elderly’s plight, including a church service at Kemp Road Ministries. (The Nassau Guardian)