National Council on Aging Raises Awareness on Elder Abuse Across Belize
June fifteenth was Elderly Abuse Awareness Day, however, the National Council on Aging (NCA) is still moving around the country, targeting everyone, to bring awareness. Doralyn Sabal, Program Officer for NCA explained that their aim is so that people recognize this abuse and act. She then went on to explain that unfortunately, this is a common issue in Belize and most of it goes unreported.
Doralyn Sabal, Program Officer, National Council of Aging: “So what we’re doing this month is that we are spreading awareness on elder abuse. Another reason why we’re trying to create more awareness is to ensure that if anybody suspects any cases that these cases are being reported because there are a lot of under reported cases, but just the same, there are cases that are being reported as well. So what we’re trying to do is to ensure that, you know, we are doing wellness checks. For those that we do suspect cases on, we hand over the information to the social workers over at Human Development specifically the Women’s and Family Department and we’re trying to create more awareness to ensure that the older persons are living a healthy life and a life whereby they are dignified and to ensure that they are well integrated within our community as well.”
Sabal spoke on how the abuse is almost always from the caregivers who oftentimes are the same children of the elderly person being taken care of.
Doralyn Sabal, Program Officer, National Council of Aging: “Sometimes the caregiver, which would either be the child or someone being paid, but the caregiver, which is usually the closest person to the older person would usually be the one to cause the abuse. And sometimes it can be whether the person is… intentionally doing it or unintentionally. So unintentionally would be that perhaps they forgot about maybe a doctor’s appointment and that would be a form of neglect. And intentionally would be of course they know that they’re doing it, they know that they’re harming this older person but it’s typically the person closest to them and it would either be their child or the caregiver that they pay to take care of the older person that would cause the abuse. It’s important to take notes of bruises, bodily bruises, take notes of bed sores for those who are bedridden. Another important one would be isolation. This is an ongoing practice that we’re trying to do, trying to create more awareness of course. It’s a very important form of education that we look at.”
This abuse can be intentional or unintentional, NCA asks the public to be aware of what is happening with our aging loved ones.