Elderly Abuse

“Multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination experienced by older persons are exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic and aggravate their vulnerabilities.”

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA)

Our response to COVID-19 must respect the rights and dignity of older people.

  • First, no person, young or old, is expendable. Older people have the same rights to life and health as everyone else.
  • Second, while physical distancing is crucial, let’s not forget we are one community and we all belong to each other.
  • Third, all social, economic and humanitarian responses must take the needs of older people fully into account, from universal health coverage to social protection, decent work and pensions.
  • And fourth, let’s not treat older people as invisible or powerless.

 – António Guterres, The UN Secretary-General,

Video message to launch policy brief on older persons New York, 1 May 2020

During the lockdown in Nepal, as per analysis of data from Ageing Nepal, elder abuse cases in Nepal increased five fold with neglect or unidentified dead bodies found contributing the maximum.

Out of 167 cases of elder abuse that were reported during the lockdown period (March – October 2020), 124 were cases of neglect or abandonment, 37 physical abuse, 2 financial abuse, 2 psychological abuse and 2 sexual abuse.

Types of Abuse:

  1. Physical Abuse
  2. Sexual Abuse
  3. Psychological Abuse
  4. Financial Abuse
  5. Neglect

Prevention

  • Formulate new policies for protection and care for the elderly
  • There is urgent need to establish a National Center for Prevention of Elder Abuse that would maintain time series information on elder abuse cases in Nepal
  • It is high time that a national program be implemented to build awareness on elder abuse focusing on media personnel, police, and the judiciaries.
  • Improvement and provisions in health care system exclusively for the elders (separate units/room/things)
  • Advocacy, lobbying, campaigning to sensitise the issue of elderly people
  • Detail surveys should be made to generate sufficient information that could provide a reliable basis for understanding general characteristics and magnitude of elder abuse in Nepal

Key Facts

  • Around 1 in 6 older people experience some form of abuse, a figure higher than previously estimated and predicted to rise as populations age worldwide
  • Rates of abuse may be higher for older people living in institutions than in the community
  • Elder abuse can lead to serious physical injuries and long-term psychological consequences
  • Elder abuse is predicted to increase as many countries are experiencing rapidly ageing populations
  • The global population of people aged 60 years and older will more than double, from 900 million in 2015 to about 2 billion in 2050

https://www.un.org/en/events/elderabuse/

Click here to view our session on World Elderly Abuse Awareness Day 15 June 2020