The saying, “Out of the frying pan into the fire” fits well to describe the lot of many elderly who have left family roofs for one of the homes which are mushrooming in the country.
On Tuesday, officers of the ministry of the Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institution in collaboration with the State law Office and the police made a surprise inspection in three homes; two at Quatre Bornes and one at Vacoas, adding that there are at least 10 such homes operating illegally on the island.
This was revealed by minister Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun at a press meet on Wednesday in Port Louis. Worse, she said, from January to May 315 cases of abuse have been registered and in 2010, 855 cases have been registered.
Under condition of confidentiality, one resident of an old people’s home confirmed that sexual abuse among residents and physical assaults by those who run the homes are a common feature.
“Our pension and other benefits go to the institution and in return all we get is ill-treatment,” mourned another resident who was on a wheel chair with flat tyres and whose toe-nails had badly needed clipping.
Dookun-Luchoomun confirmed that the scene was deplorable.
“One of these homes was locked as the owner was not present and the elderly were left in the care of a cook as the person-in-charge was absent, there was a strong bad smell, the elderly have complained of being ill treated and their pension cards were also in the possession of the owner,” said the minister.
There are there are 29 homes and 26 private charitable institutions that comply with the law.
Also in the context of the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day celebrated on June 15 every year, the minister respect and gratitude towards elderly person have always one among the pillars that characterised the Mauritian society.
Nevertheless there exist all kinds of abuse; financial, psychological, physical, sexual and negligence, towards the senior citizens.
She stated that the victims should not be afraid and should speak up and a hotline has been set up for this purpose.