Did you know that older adults are the world’s fastest-growing group? According to studies, by 2025, Pakistan elderly population could touch 45 million and globally, by 2050, the number of people over the age of 60 will be more than younger people. This means we need to have medical facilities, strategies to support our economy and awareness of how to treat our seniors in their old age. Every year, on 14 June, World Elder Abuse Day is marked which aims to draw attention to the physical, emotional and financial abuse of the elders.
Pakistani traditional culture and family system holds great respect for elders of the society. However, it has been observed that elders are emotionally and financially abused a lot in our country and shelter homes are emerging more and more with every passing day. Many of the elders’ check-in these homes themselves because they can’t take the mental torture from their loved ones and have been severely let down by family. So, let’s try to be more supportive of our parents and grandparents, look after them and show them their importance in our lives. Today, let’s look at the problems our adults face because of their age:
Perhaps the most common problem adults face is loneliness. When they reach the age where they have little or no friends left, no activities to engage in, they look up to their family. But unfortunately, family members are so indulged in their own lives that they barely pay any notice to their elders. The biggest excuse they have is, “I don’t have time.” The fact of the matter is, you need to make time for your elders. One can argue that what goes around, comes around, so the way you treat your elders now will be how you will be treated in your old age! If you don’t live with your parents or grandparents or they aren’t in your vicinity, then make sure to call them daily. Keep the human touch alive in the increasingly distant world.
Getting Around Gets Tough:
After a certain age, the human body stops supporting you the way it should. Your bones become frail and you lose control over some of your muscles. Even signing your name on your chequebook can become a challenge as your hands won’t stop shaking. So, commuting from one place to another is very challenging. So, make sure you are there to help your elders when they require to go from one place to another or need help to complete any task.
A lot of people who read about ‘abusing elders’ scoff in disgust thinking that this only refers to physical abuse. While physical abuse is a part of it, elder abuse includes emotional, psychological, sexual and financial abuse too. Physical abuse can be easily identified and we often see people intervene in this case of abuse. The other forms of abuse are the undetected and need to be paid special attention to.
Showing with your behaviour that your elders are a burden to you, only coming to them when you require financial support, talking to them about the share you will get from their will, making them feel helpless and small when they require physical help are all abusing your elders. Lifting your voice to them when they can’t do anything also gives serious stress to them. Be kind to your elders, like they were to you when you were young.
Not giving your elders the respect they deserve just because they can’t function like once they did, withholding of affection, and losing interest in their well-being all come under neglect. When you are taking care of an elder, it is your responsibility to fulfil the care giving obligations. This includes providing them with physical and emotional support.
Elders of the society are valuable. The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, very well said, “No person, young or old, is expendable.” It should be noted that our elders require special care from us in the COVID-19 period and need to be given special medical attention. Every human being craves attention and love, elders are no different. So, on the World Elder Abuse Day 2020, make sure to take care and provide support to the elders of your society.