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Monday, July 13, 2015

Some Seniors are Suffering Abuse and Maltreatment in Mexico

By Tania Meza Escorza (Milenio)

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The United Nations notes that within ten years the world population of people aged 60 or above will more than double, from 542 million in 1995 to about 1.2 billion in 2025. The UN also points out, "it is estimated that, worldwide, between 4% and 6% of the seniors have undergone some type of abuse and maltreatment, which can result in serious physical injuries and have long-term psychological consequences. Moreover, it is a global social problem that affects the health and human rights of millions of older people throughout the world, and this merits the attention of the international community."

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In Mexico, this population group (while not a majority it is quantitatively significant) is made up of adults over 60, from a generation that had its turn with many services of social security, among them the right to a retirement pension and public medical services where, right or wrong, they address their health problems.

These women and men, who are today between 60 and 80 years of age, are often the economic pillars of families that include sons and daughters, who [due to] economic crises and neoliberal governments have been denied the right to work like their fathers and mothers.  These young people go from one job to another without gaining job security.

Thus, the economic imbalances that the country has gone through in recent decades gives us seniors who still cannot pass the economic baton of their families, and they continue as heads of households (in economic terms and everything else) whose thirty-year-old descendants stay in emotional adolescence, because the low wages of young professionals keeps them from leaving the mother's home, and much less from building their own assets or establishing a family.

Despite this, the situation of elderly adults empowered as family leaders is still the exception and not the rule.  In many cases the elderly suffer violence by family members, and due to their social standing, under the capitalist premise "you are what you own" (tanto tienes tanto vales), and because that person is no longer productive insofar as [he or she] is not earning money.  The older people suffer three main types of abuse: abandonment (isolation, abandonment and social exclusion), violation/rape (of their human rights, legal rights and health), and deprivation (of options, decision-making, status, economic management, and most importantly respect).

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Excerpted from: "Día contra el abuso y maltrato en la vejez," by Tania Meza Escorza, Milenio (Mexico, D.F.), Jun. 16, 2015; edited translation by MexiData.info

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