Monday, July 27, 2015

Elderly abuse: Raymond A Fernando's 2 press letters

(1) Letter to The New Paper:   ELDERY ABUSE

Tougher laws, regular visits to the elderly

My letter to The New Paper on the above matter is published today – Monday 27th July 2015

Elderly abuse appears to be on the rise here. 

I am outraged to read of the abuse suffered by 58-year-old Kamisah Burel and how her daughter and a neighbour were allegedly involved.  

There must be more effective preventive strategies, stronger laws and policies to tackle elder abuse.

But policy makers must also recognise that caregiving is a daunting task.

Family caregivers who have little or no support can suffer burnout when they can no longer cope, and become abusive themselves.

Grassroots leaders, Members of Parliament and mayors should make the effort to visit the elderly periodically.  A database with their names should be maintained and updated regularly by the authorities. 

And the laws must still come down hard on those who abuse the defenceless. 

A clear message must be sent that the Government will not tolerate any neglect or abuse of the elderly. .



(2) Letter to The Straits Times: Appoint block leaders to help abused seniors

My letter to The Straits Times on the above subject is published today, Monday 27th July 2015.

Elder abuse appears to be on the rise. The recent case of a man who allegedly told his neighbour to feed her 58-year-old mother faeces and urine highlights the need for better protection for our seniors, some of whom may be suffering abuse in silence (“Neighbour charged with abetting abuse”; last Saturday).

Taking care of the elderly is no easy task because some seniors – who could be grappling with serious medical conditions, including psychological issues – can test one’s patience. And financial problems can add to the already heavy strain on the caregivers.

To help stamp out elder abuse, community spirit and good neighbourliness must prevail. To this end, I propose that block leaders be appointed in all housing estates. These block leaders, working with the areas’ MPs and the grassroots leaders, can be the point persons to be consulted if there are suspected cases of abuse.  They can keep a watchful eye on any form of abuse, look into suspected cases, and provide the necessary support.

Raymond Anthony Fernando



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