Waiting for the world elder abuse awareness day 2019, we will post everyday a story from real-life situations where the human rights of older people in Finland, Ireland, Italy and Romania were not respected. Their stories illustrate the challenges older people face in having their rights met.
Exploitation of my vulnerability, left me feeling stupid and without dignity
Adamo is a 77 year old retired postman who lives alone. His wife Angela has advanced dementia and lives in a residential care facility. He visits her as often as possible. Adamo finds his retirement difficult and misses being part of the community and sometimes feels very lonely and isolated. Adamo remembers a time when the whole community would depend on his wisdom and knowledge and turn to him for advice. He was a much-respected member of his neighborhood and Adamo misses these connections to everyday community life.
Hence Adamo has been spending more and more time alone in his apartment. His telephone is his link to the outside world. One day he received a phone call from a young man conducting a survey regarding a new gas supply company. Little did Adamo know that he was to become the victim of a deliberate and targeted attempt of miss-selling by the representative of the energy company.
Adamo was asked a series of leading questions, “Are you happy with your current gas company?” to which he replied, “It is a little expensive because my only income is my pension.” He was then asked if he “would be interested in paying less.” Thinking nothing of it, he replied “Yes.”
Adamo “thought nothing of the call” but a month later he received an invoice from that gas company for an even more expensive tariff than his existing gas supplier.
Adamo feels that his privacy was violated and that he was manipulated into buying and agreeing to a service that he didn’t want. He feels that the young man “cheated” him and he is left feeling more vulnerable than ever, incapable of minding himself and making proper decisions. The whole experience has left him feeling “miserable and stupid, incompetent and without dignity.”
Adamo’s story highlights infringements of these rights
ECHR Article 8 Right to respect for private and family life;
ECHR Article 14 Prohibition of discrimination in the enjoyment of Convention rights;
ECHR Protocol 1 Article 1 Protection of private property;