No excuse for Elder Abuse: NCCI on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) – Commission on Youth Concerns organized a webinar on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15th, 2024 to discuss the various issues, violences, physical and mental abuse and challenges faced by elders and how they can prevent the elder abuse by taking help of other people and in some cases help from NGOs. This webinar gave insight of different types of elder abuses and some real stories shared by participants.

Rev. Rajesh Matthew, from Mar Thoma Prayojana Institute, Kearla, an old age home, shared his experience working with elders. He spoke about the issue of children abandoning their elderly parents and the importance of recognizing the value of elders as the backbone of society. Rev. Deepak Abraham from CNI also shared his experiences on elder abuse also shared insights on theological inclusivity encountered during his ministry.

Mr. Thayil Daniel Samuel Geontologist, Palliative Care counselor/volunteer., gave the keynote address on the realities of elder abuse in India. He discussed the country’s changing demographics with a growing elderly population and increasing life expectancy. Dr. Sam explored the perspectives of both younger and older generations, underlining the need for improved communication and understanding. A short film reinforcing the message of “No excuse for Elder Abuse” was presented during his session. Dr. Sam defined elder abuse, its prevalence, and risk factors as outlined in the WHO report of 2015, including factors like migration, disabilities, mental health, and social isolation. He explained the different types of elder abuse, which include physical, emotional, financial, neglect, abandonment, and sexual abuse. He elaborated on signs of abuse, highlighting verbal abuse as the most common form, and emphasized the impact of abuse on the physical and mental health of victims, including the loss of fundamental rights.

Empowering elders to protect themselves from abuse was a key part of Mr. Sam’s presentation. He encouraged awareness of rights, seeking help when needed, avoiding pressured financial decisions, and maintaining mental and physical well-being. The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007, a government initiative supporting elders, was explained by Dr. Sam. He also shared helpline numbers and resource websites.

This webinar led by Rev. Asher Noah, NCCI- Commission on Youth Concerns and Ms. Mihika Bhore Vice President- NCCI discussed about elder abuse from a psychological perspective.

The webinar provided valuable information and raised awareness about the critical issue of elder abuse in India. It offered resources and empowered participants to identify, prevent, and address this form of mistreatment.

Rev. Asher Noah
Executive Secretary
NCCI-Commission on Youth Concerns

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