Clarifying what constitutes abuse, neglect will make Bill effective

The Vulnerable Adults Bill aimed at protecting seniors and people with disabilities is heartening news (Keeping adults at risk of abuse safe; May 24).

The Bill can only be effective if people have a better understanding of what constitutes abuse and neglect. Otherwise it will create more problems than solutions.

There are elderly people who are difficult to please because they are very exact about what they like; others tend to ignore safety measures in the house, while some are picky eaters.

Such cases are not uncommon, and many young adults find themselves in a dilemma and are at a loss for what to do in such situations.

Young adults and caregivers experience emotional, physical and economic stress, especially those who have to support loved ones with disabilities.

They may not be able to meet the expectations of those under their care, but this does not mean that they are abusing or neglecting them.

Hence, it is imperative that the relevant agencies come up with guidelines on what constitutes ill-treatment so as to remove any ambiguity and inconvenience.

Dealing with the mistreatment of vulnerable adults is going to be a long, slow haul, but at least the Bill serves as a reminder that the well-being of seniors and those with disabilities cannot and will not be compromised.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 26, 2018, with the headline 'Clarifying what constitutes abuse, neglect will make Bill effective'. Print Edition | Subscribe