Lüderitz-!Nami#nus Constituency Councillor Jan Scholtz says the government is working hard to improve the social well-being of its elderly citizens by providing them with free access to medical services and social grants.
However, he noted, some of the elderly do not seem to enjoy these benefits due to abuse and stereotyping in the society.
He said many cases of abuse are not reported because the abuse occurs within the family.
”Therefore, it is our responsibility as caregivers, community members to ensure senior citizens are taken care of. All cases of abuse must be reported to the relevant authorities.
The elderly are the pillars of our country and without them we shall not achieve the objective of Vision 2030 and the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP),” he said at the World Elderly Abuse Awareness Day, organized by social workers from Lüderitz State Hospital.
The event was held at !Nami#nus Constituency Office last Saturday.
Scholtz said abuse of the elderly is a worldwide phenomenon that significantly affects both developed and developing countries. Abuse, neglect, violence and exploitation are among the biggest issues faced by senior citizens.
Many elderly people live alone, some are placed in old age homes, while their properties are sold or taken over by their relatives.
Those who stay with their family members are likely to suffer physical, psychological, sexual or financial abuse.
Scholtz stated that in many cases senior citizens are denied access to basic human right such as medical care, own housing, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, the right to acquire and own assets and usage of their own money.
A social worker at Lüderitz State Hospital Rahia Ishitile, the main organizer of the awareness day, noted that World Elderly Abuse Awareness Day is commemorated on June 15 but at Lüderitz they made arrangements to commemorate the day on July 15.
This year it was commemorated under the theme: Understand and End Financial Abuse of Old People.
Ishitile stated that elderly people’s roles in society should be recognized, as elders have the right to participate in development programmes and should be treated as individuals with special needs.
She also mentioned that older people have the right to be listened to and their mental and physical limitations understood.
The older people furthermore have a right to be informed about HIV/AIDS to enable them to protect themselves and those under their care.
Older people living with HIV/AIDS also have the right to treatment, care and support.
More than 100 of the elderly gathered at !Nami#nus Constituency Office last Saturday where they were served with tea and soup.