The government in collaboration with other stakeholders is in the process of enhancing appropriate and viable programming approaches to reduce the abuses that rob elder persons their dignity.
The Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection (CAS), Patrick Ole Ntutu said in a bid to stop abuse of the elderly, it is necessary to bring the young people on board through intergenerational approaches and programmes to help them understand that ageing is a process and they should care for their parents.
He said it is disheartening to see media documentaries highlighting elders abuse being perpetrated by their families, some of which result in death.
The CAS made the remarks on Monday during the National Virtual Symposium on the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) held at the Ministry’s headquarter at NSSF building with the theme, ‘Uprooting Elder Abuse, Plant a Seed for Change.’
The marking of the Day serves as a call to action for individuals, organizations and communities to raise awareness about the elder abuse, neglect, violence and exploitation.
Ole Ntutu announced that the government has plans of establishing a model home for older persons in Kirinyaga in a bid to promote and secure the welfare and rights of older persons who have been abandoned, neglected or abused.
“The ministry is also working very closely with other relevant stakeholders especially those operating institutions and homes in the adoption of the guidelines for the establishment and management of older person’s institutions,” he added.
To commemorate the day, the ministry organized a weeklong activities and in collaboration with other stakeholders, they visited the vulnerable older persons both in institutions and households where they donated blankets, clothing, materials, food, money, protective gear against Covid-19 and provided health education and awareness on elder abuse.
The Ambassador for Older Persons, Kinuthia wa Mwangi said Older Person want the government to establish a commission that will coordinate their issues at the national and county governments.
He said the affirmative action has engaged the youth and women in various spheres of development, and as older persons they also want to have representation in ad hoc committees, appointments to boards, the National Assembly and the Senate.
“We do not want people to speak for us because those are the places where policies are made. We want the government to support the older persons in claiming representation at all levels where their voices can be heard,” said Kinuthia.
Kinuthia also urged the government to develop sensitization and awareness programmes on older persons, noting that the advocacy will help communities to see the value of the elderly, as well as address abuse challenges they face from care givers and the society.
“There is a Bill that is now coming to define the space of the older persons in the country,” he added.
The Ambassador noted that there is also need for the older persons to access opportunities being offered by the government in various fields as most of them are highly educated, adding that retired officers such as professors, Judges, senior executive officers from organizations should be given opportunities in consultancy.
Kinuthia told the gathering that he has already started documenting a data base for retired persons where their issues will be articulated, including the deeds of the older persons that Kenyans need to know.
By Bernadette Khaduli