“In my own family”: A documentary on elder abuse in South Asian families

image003THE issue of elder abuse is on the rise within seniors who are of South Asian origin living with their extended families.

As many as 25% of South Asian seniors live with their relatives in comparison to 5% of the general population. Factors such as low income, language and technology barriers, immigration status, high cost of housing and cultural aspects make them dependent on their care-givers. Seniors suffer behind the close door of silence just to avoid the shame and to maintain family dignity.

Reh’ma Community Services in collaboration with University of Ontario-Institute of Technology has conducted participatory action research on elder abuse in the South Asian families. One of the findings of the study was that “South Asian elderly living in Canada for less than 10 years and who did not speak English fluently reported more elderly abuse than those who have been living for longer and whose English is more fluent.”

image005Quotes from the participants in the study include:

* “My daughter-in-law blamed me for things.”

* “They put me down all the time for being homeless.”

* “Children treated me unfairly by abandoning me.”

Based on the research work and through involvement of many seniors, stake holders, government officials and service providers, Reh’ma community services this week announced the release of the documentary “In my own family “funded by New Horizon for seniors.

The documentary shares the research work and brings solutions for intervention and prevention of Elder abuse.

To view it, go to:


“At Reh’ma, our mandate includes creating an age-friendly society where seniors feel safe and secure in their home and their communities. Every week over 150 seniors come to Reh’ma House and speak about their needs. We need to give them a platform to network and integrate as this helps them to break their cycle of isolation and violence,” said Ebrahim Sayed, President of Reh’ma Community Services.

“We are extremely grateful to New Horizons for funding us and to all the participants and officials who helped us to make this documentary,” said Shirin Mandani, Executive Director of Reh’ma.