Legal Wranglings: Elderly woman abandoned by her children

March 24, 2016

Residents in a Manchester community have raised concerns about the plight of an elderly woman whose children have neglected her.

They explained that the woman worked very hard to take care of her four children and they have all refused to look after her or assist her financially. One of the children lives in the same community as her 80-year-old mother.

"It is a shame that this old woman has four children and they have all abandoned her," a neighbour said.

"The woman, who is 80 years old, suffered a stroke last year and is not able to take care of herself as she used to do. Some of the residents have to be doing chores for her and providing meals for her.

"There are many days when she sits and cries because her children refuse to help her. I know she worked very hard to take care of her four children after their father died when they were in primary school. I know the old lady planted a lot of vegetables and on weekends she went to the market to sell so she could provide for her children.

"She was very loving and kind to them and we cannot understand why they have refused to help their mother. They are all working and the daughter who lives in the same community as her mother is a nurse. Two of her daughters are teachers and the son is a tailor.

"One day I spoke to the daughter who is a nurse and asked her why they have abandoned their mother. She told me they all had their affairs to look after. She even told me that their mother should have made preparation for old age.

"I reminded her of how hard her mother used to work to take care of them and send them to school but she responded that it was her mother's responsibility to look after them. Residents in the community, including myself are the ones who have to be looking after the old lady. I believe something should be done to force them to take care of their mother."

The Maintenance Act places an onus on children who are not minors to support their parents. Section 10 of the act states in part that every person who is not a minor has an obligation to the extent that the person is capable to maintain a person's parents who are in need of maintenance by reason of age, physical or mental infirmity or disability. An application can be made before the court for the children to maintain their mother.

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