THE EDITOR: It is an outrage to see the growing number of crimes against the elderly who are physically, sexually, emotionally and financially abused or neglected. What is worse is that many of these crimes not only go unnoticed but are also hidden in blind sight.
Unlike the young who can get help, recuperate or voice their concerns easily, older people are more vulnerable as they often begin to lose their physical and mental faculties and the ability to understand complex transactions.
They may place their trust in friends, family and acquaintances who may physically intimidate them or defraud them of their possessions. This can happen by intimidation, false accusation or gentle persuasion to have the unsuspecting elderly sign documents under false pretences.
Not only is it a crime of fraud, theft and financial abuse but it is also an outrage because it abuses the law meant to protect and serve the innocent from such injustices.
Gone is the time when people respected and cared for the elderly.
While there is a growing consciousness to protect our youth, the crimes against the elderly go unnoticed because friends, family and acquaintances often commit them subtly under the eyes of the law.
Apart from the physical abuse that takes place, many old people are made to sign over their hard-earned property in their last days when they are no longer able to function properly. Without their property, they may be put into homes or left on the street to suffer a slow painful death.
Greedy people who can afford unscrupulous lawyers use the law to have the elderly sign documents such as deeds, wills and agreements so its seems above board and goes unnoticed. If we are to trust the system then we must ensure that the system works not only for those who can afford lawyers but also for those who are unable to.
It is said that only one in 10,000 fraud victims report such crimes. Even when reported, the elderly may have been robbed of the financial ability to fight their case.
There needs to be a growing awareness of what is going on so those in authority and agencies set up to protect our elderly can help. One day we too may be in their shoes. How a nation treats the least of their brethren is how it treats itself.
Stop this outrage, protect the vulnerable, educate those in authority and teach our citizens to respect the elderly once more.