This is the second part of a series of four articles on Elder Abuse: Role of Civil Society and Government. We saw earlier an overview of Elder Abuse and various parties associated with it. We shall now talk about the victims per se and what they can do. Role of State and Central Government is also discussed briefly.
Victims of Elder Abuse – What they can do
Senior citizens should empower themselves with facts, information and data required to face and tackle abuse. They should have phone numbers and addresses of lawyers, doctors, police, pressure groups, counseling centers and the like. Ignorance of rights and the law in particular is harmful and places the senior citizen in a vulnerable position. Senior citizens should join several associations and peer groups like walkers clubs, prayer groups, Day Care Centers etc. When abuse occurs they should openly discuss it with others without feeling shy or ashamed. Senior Citizens must make themselves financially sound and independent.
They should never give away their property to their wards or disclose all their assets to everyone. Where feasible they should not hesitate to take Reverse Mortgage Loan and ensure a steady flow on income. Taking recourse to legal provisions should be the last resort. Having anger alone or standing on one’s prestige alone is not enough. Civil Suits take years to get decided and lot of time & time are wasted.
Pointers to the State and Central Governments:
Central Government: Present MWPSCA 2007 does not talk about softer issues of Elder Abuse. Provisions must be made in this to render it a comprehensive piece of legislation. Presently it is an act to tell the World Bodies like the UN: “Look Here, We also have a law on Senior Citizens”. The subject of Elder Abuse relates more to HRD (Human Rights protection) and MOSJE should liaise with HRD and promote meaningful program to handle EA issues. Standards for OAH should cover EA prevention and reporting also.
State governments must adopt the Central law. Rules framed there under must include EA in Old Age Homes, Nursing Homes, Senior Facilities or Assisted living centers or Hospices. Tribunals set up under the MWPSCA need to liaise with SCAs or Resident Welfare Associations for solving EA cases.
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