Scores of passionate community members took to the streets of Durban’s CBD this morning committed to highlighting the scourge of elder abuse and the plight of the elderly.
The annual awareness walk hosted by The Association for the Aged (Tafta) drew hundreds of participants including elders and local advocacy organisations, who showed their support for promoting the rights of elderly.
Heeding the call to action ahead of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, the group set off from Durban City Hall bearing posters and chanting in solidarity against the abuse, neglect and exploitation of elders.
Adelaide Valashiya, 76, who joined the march, said she felt empowered adding that the awareness walk created a platform for the elderly to have their voices heard.
“Today we feel that we are free. We are tired of the physical abuse, misuse of our pensions and broken hearts. Today we stand together and voice our rights,” says Valashiya.
Abuse and mistreatment of the elderly can be psychological, financial, physical, sexual or neglect and Tafta reiterates that it is important for the public to become more aware of the prevalence of these incidents in order to recognise the signs of abuse and report it.
According to the United Nations, recent research undertaken, draws specific attention to financial exploitation and material abuse of older persons as a common and serious problem. It is reported that approximately 5 to 10 percent of older people globally may experience some kind of financial exploitation and such abuse often goes unreported.
“The abuse and neglect of elder persons is largely under-recognised and often treated as an unspoken problem, which makes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day so important for raising awareness and sensitising society to this prevalent issue,” says Tafta CEO Femada Shamam.
“There is often the misconception that elder abuse occurs only within specific communities or under unique circumstances but no community is immune to this issue as it affects elders from all walks of life,” adds Shamam.
Shamam says that although a global day dedicated to elder abuse plays a vital role towards highlighting this crime, efforts to become proactive and intervene against any form of exploitation or neglect of the elderly must be ongoing.
Tafta is dedicated to serving the needs of Durban’s elderly residents and is focused on their wellbeing. Through its various programmes, Tafta offers support for victims of abuse in a safe and secure environment.