Monday 15th June, 2006


Mahabir-Wyatt: Elderly treated badly

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Crimes against children may have held the spotlight within recent months, but abuse of the elderly is also rampant in the society, chairman of the T&T Coalition Against Domestic Violence Diana Mahabir-Wyatt has said.

She made the statement during a discourse hosted by Patriot Citizens of T&T at the University of the West Indies in St Augustine on Thursday night.

Patriot Citizens of T&T is a non-governmental organisation which seeks to empower the grassroot community. It also speaks out against issues that are affecting average citizens.

Thursday’s meeting, which was attended by members of civil society organisations, dealt specifically with the family-related issues.

A leading authority on abuse against women and children, Mahabir-Wyatt told a small audience that a report, entitled Stop Elderly Abuse Now, was produced during the coalition’s annual general meeting on Wednesday.

“If you could have read that report you would cry,” she said.

“The abuse of elderly people in this country is something that is not very well-known.”

Alluding to segments of the report, Mahabir-Wyatt related an incident in which an elderly woman was put to live underneath her family’s house in the countryside.

She said police and social workers went to the house to talk to the family and the woman was subsequently removed and placed in the care of a senior citizens’ home.

“When they (coalition) checked up two weeks later, she was removed from the home for the elderly and no one could find out where she was,” Mahabir-Wyatt said.

Mahabir-Wyatt, a former independent senator, said there were no legislative standards governing homes for the elderly.

“Anybody could set up a home for the elderly without a licence.

“Legislation had been passed and regulations have been drafted, but for some reason or the other it has not been able to get through.”

Mahabir-Wyatt said in one home there were twice as many elderly people as there were beds.

In addition, she said at one particular home many of them were being fed on a sub-standard diet of bread and jam, at least three times a day.

“There are no laws to regulate this,” she said, adding that the meal did not augur well for elderly people with lifestyle diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

©2005-2006 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

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