older people, rather than young people, who are accused. Many older people are burnt to death by the public, with or without “evidence”.
ere is no access to health-care facili- ties, and many older people cannot walk long distances.
Discrimination by health insurance: the National Health Insurance Fund ac- cepts membership only from individuals below the age of 75 years. Furthermore, the Fund demands much higher premi- ums from older people, thereby locking them out of insurance.
e main causes for elder abuse tend to
be economic in nature. is could be due to a lack of savings or because disabilities and needs often strain the finances of their providers, thus leading to neglect. In addi- tion, the emergence of the nuclear family contributes to the loneliness and isolation of older people.
e SWEF was considered to be applicable
and appropriate and therefore to be useful.
e social workers expressed the need for
intervention protocols, specific training, strengthening of their role to advocate for older people’s rights, and increased public awareness. e government welfare system for older people should be improved by providing homes, implementing policies in institutions dealing with older people and the law relating to the their welfare, imple- menting hospital policies that recognize older people as a priority, and training and sensitizing of all professionals about elder abuse.
A GLOBAL RESPONSE TO ELDER ABUSE AND NEGLECT
Workshop with PHC professionals and social workers
A session was conducted involving five social workers and four doctors to discuss intervention possibilities and to review the PAHO manual. Institutional support is required, such as clear policies to be put in place, social workers to be posted in all hospitals, provision of rescue centres for abused older people, sensitization of all staff and training on issues of older people, and a proper diagnosis, including a social history of older patients. Both professional groups acknowledged the importance of the PAHO manual as a guiding tool to assess the psychological needs of older people. e enactment of legislation on older people at the national and institutional level is con- sidered as a crucial factor to guide interven- tions related to elder abuse.
Elder abuse is both a social work and a health-care issue. Social workers assist abused and neglected older people to find homes for placement. Since relatives tend to dump or abandon older people in hospitals, doctors have to take charge of the aban- doned people.
Unlike social workers, who confront the issue of elder abuse in their daily routines, most doctors in Kenya are not aware of the magnitude of elder abuse. e lack of doc- tors’ awareness is attributed to the limited focus on elder issues from training through to work situations. e low number of older