Question 12: Although this question is important in detecting elder abuse, the question was regarded as very controver- sial. In the African context, sex is a sensi- tive topic for older people. e question may not be culturally appropriate, since it may cause discomfort. erefore, the ques- tion may not be answered by many older respondents.
A suggested alternative was:
“Has anyone touched you in ways you did not like or made unwanted sexual ap- proaches towards you? If yes, was it once or several times?”
Questions 2, 7 and 11 were the least rel- evant and could be eliminated.
In the opinion of the PHC professionals, the questions are an important tool in assisting to detect elder abuse. e items cover the most critical aspects that the older people are subject to and experience in everyday social life. Issues of loneliness, dependence on others for their basics, being mistreated, being vulnerable at the hands of the pow- erful, being taken advantage of, having overwhelming financial responsibility, and being caregivers in their state of fragility are current critical issues that the questions capture.
Two workshops were held: one with social workers (nine participants) and another with social workers and PHC professionals (nine participants). e aim was to gather their views on elder abuse as a social and health care issue, and to test the SWEF and the PAHO manual.
Workshop with social workers
e participants agreed that elder abuse
is a critical issue in both rural and ur- ban Kenya. e older population has increased tremendously, but older people are a neglected group. NGOs focus mainly on children and youths rather than on older people. For example, homes exist for abused and neglected children, but older people who experience similar problems have no such facilities or support. is implies that elder abuse is not considered a critical issue.
ere is a lack of trained personnel to deal
with elder issues. e hospital at which the participants work does not have specific policies addressing older people. Routine follow-up is not available, as social work services at this hospital are provided only to inpatients.
ere are some categories of elder abuse
that occur specifically in the Kenyan con- text:
When witchcraft is suspected (e.g.
among the Kisii of Kenya), it is always