Kenya marks 2021 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

2nd July 2021

In this presentation, you’ll learn more about factors that promote the vice and way forward, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic fueling elder abuse in Sub saharan African communities. You’ll also read about why elders are practicing “karate” to defend themselves from perpetrators

Kenya has about 1.2 million people over 65 years of age in a population of 38.6 million representing 3.8% of the total population.
We have slightly more men than women.

POPULATION DISTRIBUTION BY AGE AND SEX

CURRENT RISK FACTORS FOR ELDER ABUSE

  •  Caregiver depression
  • No recognition or incentives for professional carers by the government in kenya  
  • Lack of financial support for potential caregiver
  • Substance abuse by the caregiver
  • Perception by caregiver that taking CARE of the elder is burdensome and without emotional reward
  • Intensity of CARE need and illness or dementia
  • Witchcraft and other myths and misconceptions
  • SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic measures
  • Corruption due to top down approach in elder support program and implementations

WITCHCRAFT ALLEGATIONS

Witchcraft is the practice of what the practitioner “witch” believes to have supernatural skill, abilities and performing magical rituals, Witchcraft is illegal in Kenya according to  Act   CAP 67.  

In KENYA 120 elderly people are killed every year on suspicion of witchcraft according to police statistics 2018 research study.
Young Kenyans are murdering elderly relatives (especially those living with dementia) claiming they are witches but it is because of wealth, in the wake of this, land disputes have increased whereby elders feel the youth are using shortcuts to own and sell, this leaves the older Adults in an awkward situation, abused and even killed.
Dementia stigma and lack of awareness is a major cause of abuse especially in western Kenya, persons living with dementia have dementia-related behavioral changes, in a recent case an elderly was beaten up in a mall just because she claimed she owned it. In central Kenya, most people believe someone living with dementia is a curse or did something wrong to someone and was bewitched.

SARS-CoV-2 MEASURES

Covid-19 pandemic measures enacted by Centres for Disease Control of social physical distancing left elders isolated a well-known risk factor for elder abuse.
Secondly, flops in the stock market left elders vulnerable to financial abuse and scams due to financial instabilities and rush to salvage.

WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENT DOING?

Legislation: Covid 19 pandemic has exposed an increase in elder abuse in KENYA, the government has promoted and secured the rights of the older persons by enacting policies that provide an environment that recognises, empowers and facilitate their welfare, also expediting of Older Persons Care and Protection bill 2018 in kenya 
Financial support: Older Persons Cash Tranfer Program (OPCTP) started in 2007 with every enlisted house of persons over 65 year entitled to about $ 20 per month with a stipend emergency support during the Covid-19 Pandemic period.

WHAT IS THE COMMUNITY DOING?

Supporting CARE centres and volunteering
Community-Based Organisations/NGO’s/individuals interventions
Aliasing with health professionals to promote health in the elderly.
Church leaders home visits with basic needs and spiritual support
Media awareness & participation especially  in social media
Elders are now learning “karate” to protect themselves from physical abuses 


WAY FORWARD

Universal health care which includes Long Term Care to promote Healthy Ageing
Elder empowerment and digital inclusion.
Social-economic support & involvement
Cultural myths mitigation/dementia awareness
Training (Caregivers curriculum introduction) in schools and making wills by elders.
Chaplaincy promoting welfare assessment
Community (participation, integration and collaboration) in learning and research.
Multisectoral collaboration (e.g Governments, civil society and private sectors) in alleviating elder abuse in Kenya.

Promote and recognize stakeholders: i.e innovators, academia, civil societies, investors, and governments.

Long Term Care Institutions: building centres of care is key as it has shown this works as centres of learning, demonstration and research, also enhances social, technological, innovative benefits, “gateway healthy and active ageing.”

CONCLUSION

Fast Ageing population: Sub-Saharan Africa projections indicate threefold Older Adults increase by 2050, thus fast-tracking on pillar deterrent to elder abuse is key.

Governments: Action plan enactment fine-tuned to supporting programs that help protect, identify, intervene and punish perpetrators to enhance justice to Older Adults in Africa.

Discover more

SJ Remedial Homes are long-term care centres, celebrating their seventh anniversary. The centres remain the first self-paying locals and promote a new wealth of health services to elders and families. The mission of SJR is to support healthy active ageing, digital inclusion, centres of carer learning, research and demonstration.

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