Colombia’s Constitutional Court has ruled that people are obligated to provide assistance to elderly family members that are not able to care for themselves, according to El Tiempo newspaper.
While each person is responsible for procuring their own means of subsistence, the court’s ruling says that family members have a duty to aid their kin who are unable to be self-sufficient through work based on the constitutional principles of “solidarity” and “equity.”
The ruling was issued in a case in which a 70 year-old woman and her daughters had agreed that she would be provided approximately $25 per month for food. As they did not fulfill this obligation, she filed a writ of protection designed to protect constitutional rights.
“The subsistence of an elderly adult is a commitment due their defenseless state, given that their work capacity is exhausted,” the court said as it ordered the daughters to fulfill their “legal” and “moral” duty. The 70 year-old is unable to work due to vision loss.
The court also ruled that the mayor’s office in Bogota include the woman on the list of beneficiaries of a subsidy program and that the Ombudsman follow up on the ruling.
In the Colombian capital of Bogota, nearly three out of five adults are victims of mistreatment, with the majority of the cases being committed by a family members, according to the director of the University of Javeriana’s Institute of Aging.
Colombia’s Congress is currently considering a bill to address the abandonment and mistreatment of the elderly.