Abuse of the elderly is an appalling, but unfortunately, pervasive violation of human rights and dignity.
So said President Paula-Mae Weekes in a message in observance of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day seeks to highlight the injustices often meted out to older persons worldwide in the form of physical, financial, psychological, and even sexual abuse.
She said many older persons have their pensions, land and other possessions stolen by caregivers, strangers and sadly, sometimes by their own relatives; others are beaten, verbally abused and generally taken advantage of, while in the care of nursing homes or other institutions.
The United Nations estimates that approximately one in six older persons is a victim of abuse—a figure that is predicted to rise substantially as global populations continue to age.
The President said with 12 per cent of its population over 60, T&T is considered to have an ageing population.
she said Its knowledge and experience make this demographic a valuable resource and where age and illness have taken their toll, its members must nevertheless be cherished and supported in recognition of their contribution to society.
She said, "Given Trinidad and Tobago’s ageing population, it serves us well to ensure that we create an environment that is conducive to the health and well-being of our elders and their full participation in our society, ever mindful that one day it will be our turn."
The President said while the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, through its Division of Ageing, is primarily responsible for matters affecting our elders, every citizen has a duty to treat older persons with respect and dignity and to report situations in which they are being ill-treated or otherwise deprived of their rights.