Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 30, 2020 (SKNIS): Mrs.Patricia Richards-Leader, Chief Executive Officer of the Grange Healthcare Facility, said that abuse against older persons needs to stop and has made recommendations on how to stop it.
Mrs. Richards-Leader was at the time speaking on the radio and television show “Working for You,” on November 25. She said that St. Kitts and Nevis is no different from any other country in the world.
She noted that the global incidence of elder abuse is from 3.2 to 27.5 percent and of that, 92 percent is against women. She added that 90 percent of elder abuse cases are perpetrated by family members.
“More than often, adult children are the most common abusers,” she said. “Rates can also be high in institutions like mine if you don’t ensure that there is effective supervision, and managerial issues are addressed.”
Mrs. Richards- Leader said that if persons know this is occurring, then they need to put in place a proper system to care for the elders.
“It’s about education; it’s not just about giving a bath and feeding,” she said. “It’s about understanding the people that you are caring for. …It’s very difficult sometimes to make people understand…when you are caring for the elderly, when you are caring for people with comorbidity, that is, people who can’t speak, people who can’t hear, that you need to have that extra support system to help you out.”
She noted that it is often wrong to think that family members are the best persons to care for the elderly.
“You also need to be quite eloquent, quite educated about this thing when people say about institutionalized care, because if you feel that a family member is the best person to care for their own it is a very wrong perception brought out by all these statistics,” she said.
“Yes, in your own home is the best place, but you have to make sure that, that family member is aware of what the aging process is,” she added. “And when you look at the reasons that they give about why a lot of older adults are abused, it is caregiver stress.”
Mrs. Richards-Leader recommended that the government set up an Elder Abuse Prevention Unit to look into incidences of elder abuse.
“We don’t have elder abuse laws. There are laws against domestic violence, but it does not include elders,” she said. “Stop this inherent prejudice that we show not just women, but everyone. Educate the people who are looking after the elderly and not just how to give a bath and tell them how to look for abuse and tell them to stop the abuse if they are the ones doing it.” -30-