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  • Acting Executive Director of the National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSC), Cassandra Morrison, is imploring Jamaicans to take care of their elderly relatives and not abuse them.
  • She informed that six cases have been reported to the Council since April, but estimates that the figure may be higher, as incidents often go unreported.

Acting Executive Director of the National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSC), Cassandra Morrison, is imploring Jamaicans to take care of their elderly relatives and not abuse them.

She noted that the country’s seniors are valuable contributors to national development, and the NCSC sees them as “resources to Jamaica and not as burdens”.

Ms. Morrison, who was speaking in an interview with JIS News, said that Jamaica, like other countries around the world, faces the issue of elderly abuse.

She informed that six cases have been reported to the Council since April, but estimates that the figure may be higher, as incidents often go unreported.

Two of the cases were related to sibling control over parents’ assets.

Ms. Morrison told JIS News that, globally, one in every 10 senior citizen experiences some kind of abuse. Those perpetrating the abuse are usually relatives or persons close to the elderly.

“We find that senior citizens don’t often report this; it’s an issue of pride… . It is taken as a failure on their part to not be able to provide for themselves. There is also the fear of the repercussions,” she pointed out.

Mrs. Morrison added that these elderly persons would prefer to remain in an abusive situation than to be taken to what is commonly referred to as “poorhouse”.            Elderly abuse refers to any form of mistreatment that results in harm or loss to an older person.

It includes physical – slapping, hitting, inappropriate medication and physical restraint; sexual – unwanted sexual touching or being coerced into sexual acts; emotional – insulting, frightening, threatening, ignoring or isolating a senior; and financial – fraud, theft, misusing money or property, or putting pressure on seniors to gain access to their funds or property.

It is estimated that by 2050, close to 25 per cent of the world’s population will be senior citizens.

Ms. Morrison noted that the majority of senior citizens are not dependent elderly. “They are persons working and contributing to the society in meaningful ways, especially our members of Government,” Ms. Morrison indicated.

September 25-October 1 is being recognised as Senior Citizens’ Week.