Minister: Laws to stop elder abuse coming

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Minister Willmoth Daniel said that the Ministry of Social Transformation is taking a “zero-tolerance” approach to the financial abuse of the nation’s elders and new legislation is in the pipeline.

“We are in the process of drafting a document for Cabinet’s approval to at least, in the first instance, manage the financial benefits of persons living in institutions in Antigua & Barbuda,” Daniel said in a press release yesterday.

He added, “For too long, relatives and caregivers are signing for these cheques and (utilising) them for different purposes.”

According to the document, the minister will seek to circumvent the misuse of seniors’ funds by intervening in the collection process – starting with elders housed in government-owned facilities.

Daniel is recommending that benefits for institutionalised persons be transferred to the “respective government agencies” to assist with the care of beneficiaries.

“It is appalling that these cheques are signed for by persons every month and the beneficiaries do not get a penny from it and the state is left with the care burden of the elderly,” the minister noted.

Daniel admonished this practice noting that government is left to foot all expenses for the elderly when their monies are siphoned.

“Most times, these caregivers spent the moneys foolishly to fix hair and nails, while the elderly who have worked hard and should be enjoying their golden years are left to languish at the mercy of the state. This practice must be stopped; once and for all,” Daniel noted.

The Ministry of Social Transformation is using the occasion of International Day Against Elder Abuse today to highlight the issue of abuse of the elderly. Antiguans & Barbudans are asked to wear an item of yellow in solidarity against elder abuse.

To report incidences of elder abuse, contact the Citizen’s Welfare Division’s GRACE programmme at 562-7360.

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One thought on “Minister: Laws to stop elder abuse coming

  1. Many thanks for helping to highlight this ever-increasing global crime. With the world headed toward the largest transfer of wealth from one generation to the next in history, this crime, unless we are all educated and alert, is set to become a global horror show.

    Filmmaker Pamela Glasner’s parents were recent victims of financial exploitation.

    Glasner’s mother, at 89, had two children, but they both lived far away; the love of her life, her 90-year-old husband, was moved into a nursing home, leaving her suddenly on her own; a bout with glaucoma left her unable to drive. She was a proud, intelligent woman known for being an excellent businesswoman. “Mom never,” Glasner says, “let on that there was a problem. There was no reason for my brother or me to presume to keep a watchful eye on Mom’s finances or her choice of friends. We’d never been involved with financial abuse and had no notion of what was happening until it was too late.” Ethel Glasner was not impaired — she was 89 and lonely and dependent. She was the perfect victim – and sadly, in the nursing home, so was her husband, Harry Glasner, who was impaired – with Alzheimer’s.

    A new documentary, ‘Last Will and Embezzlement,’ tells her story, but also – and more importantly – features disturbing, first-hand accounts from other real-life victims, including Hollywood icon Mickey Rooney, as well as in-depth interviews with experts who discuss such key issues as victim profiles, the perpetrators’ modus operandi, reasons for vulnerability, as well as potential solutions so that hopefully seniors and baby boomers won’t don’t become victims in the first place – prevention before the fact is always better than hoping for law enforcement or justice after the fact.

    Perhaps your readers would be interested: http://www.lastwillandembezzlement.com which was directed by Deborah Louise Robinson and produced by Starjack Entertainment.

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