“He just lies there”: desperate plight of the abandoned elderly

Mohamed Solih has suffered from mental illness for as long as people in the island of Kanditheem in Shaviyani Atoll could remember – now at 70-years of age he lives by himself in an abandoned house.

In recent weeks, Solih has lost his eyesight as well as the ability to stand on his feet.

Kanditheemu Island Councilor Nasrulla told Minivan News that Solih did have one son living in Male’” who should bear the responsibility” of taking care of his father in his advanced age.

“It was because of his negligence as well that his father has not been sent to either treatment facilities or taken good care of,” Nasrulla said. “Ever since we remember Solih he has been a disabled man, but he used to walk and there were relatives who looked after him.”

Nasrulla added that Solih’s son, Ahmed Wafir, had been informed about his father’s condition.

‘’Now that he can’t walk by himself he just lies in the same place and can’t even go to his relatives’ house to have meal,’’ the councillor said.

Nasrulla said that when he contacted the son, Wafir blamed the concerned authorities for not providing care for his father.

“He says that he has tried with all the concerned state authorities to send his father to the treatment facility in Guraidhoo, Kaafu Atoll,” said Nasrulla. “And he said that the authorities have not been replying to his letters and have ignored his requests.”

However, Nasrulla argued that the son’s negligence was to blame for Solih’s isolation.

“The family has to work to an adequate level to send Solih to treatment facility,” he insisted. “More recently another person in this island was sent to the treatment facility but it happened only because this person’s family tried to an adequate level.”

Wafir has told Minivan News that he was planning to go back for his father very soon.

“I tried to look after him but it never worked out that way,” Wafir said. “Every time I try to control my father it ends up with either of us getting injured.”

Wafir explained that was unable to stay in the island as he had his own family to look after in Male’: “I was left with no other choice,” he said.

He added that his mother-in-law living in Kanditheemu had been caring for his father while he was away, “but she contacted me and said his condition is far too serious now.”

Online newspaper Kanditheem-online based in the island reported today that Solih’s condition is now critical and islanders have started gathering near the abandoned house where Solih is being kept.

The original article in Kanditheem-online about Solih Mohamed can be found here.


19 thoughts on ““He just lies there”: desperate plight of the abandoned elderly”

  1. This is a very sad incident. His son does have some valid points; after all, he is unable to look after his father. But that raises more questions.

    Surely, it's the collective responsibility of the community to look after our elders. The government has a duty to ensure this man lives his last days in dignity!

    "“The family has to work to an adequate level to send Solih to treatment facility,”

    What does this mean? What is an "adequate level"? Running and begging after every politician in the country? That is ridiculous. Clearly the authorities know about this man. So, what other "adequate level" is needed? You can clearly see his condition.

    What's this nation turning to?

  2. This nation my dear Southerner, is not TURNING into anything. This nation has gradually developed into what it is today.

    Why? Due to British influence and silly dabbling in our internal politics? Due to horrible mismanagement of our State and economy? Due to continued denial of a decent education? Who's to say?

    Your guess is as good as mine.

  3. Extremely sad situation !! Also I wish newspapers show more respect to such individuals and not publish photographs. The person is in a condition which he can't help himself. I think its the last thing that the person want - his photos published on frontpages of newspapers in such condition.

  4. What a terrible story but sad to say a reflection of where our country is at.

    As to sendin this poor man to the "treatment facility" in Guraidhoo, Kaafu Atoll, don't make me laugh, he is better off where he is now than in that place. There is no "treatment" or care there, we all know the bad stories that come from there, our Government and even the Human Rights Commission know this but they do nothing.

    Everyone is rightfully concerned about our disabled children but nobody stops to think about what happens when they grow and become adults and elders. What happens when their family can't or won't take care of them?
    People with mental illness need proper specialist care, families need advice and guidance, which this country does not provide and has no wish to provide. Good on the disabled persons act being discussed at the moment, but who will stand up and help the mentally ill-and there are many of them here?

    Solih's family should be taking care of him, but our Government should be working with them and showing them how by giving support and leading the way. Sad to say but this is not the only case like this in Maldives, there are many Solih’s, so when will our Government realise that these people need help and fast. Shameful.

  5. Minivan, you really need to review your policy for publishing photos. Often, I find that Minivan posts photos that should not have been posted.

  6. Officials and locals businessman have enough money to create real different social program for old citizens and others who need help!It is possible To build some Retirement house, nursing home or old age home for desolated and lonely citizens who do not have any relatives/only 300.000 population and billions of dollars from tourism industry and one time many people in heavy poverty! it is nonsence and shame for country like Maldives!
    Also it is result of selfishness of modern generation/If you do not respect old peoples you are spitted to heart of many 1000 years Maldivian tradition and demonstrate disrespect to past generations!remember that time run very quickly and you will be old too very soon and you will face the same disrespect and careless to your self from future generation ! The future is not appear just from nothing it is reflexion and result of what do you think and doing today /the only option to build up a good society it is to create good social education programms in schools that explain how real good human must behave/ But if the social stereotype today it is to get easy money without work , sale drugs and speculation on the black market,egoism, it will be crime hell in future especially for a country that claims to be 100% muslims! Do not play games with God by given such type of promises and titles and doing the opposite !God and Nature can punish for that and make life of future generations as bloody hell! And only you and your careless today will be the main reason of such possible disasters!

  7. Our politicians are proud of the fact that we have "graduated" out of being a Least Developed Country (LDC). Pictures like this prove that we really haven't made much progress at all.

    It doesn't matter that we have a per capita income of X thousand dollars. You can clearly see and witness the "progress" we've made from this and other incidents taking place in society.

    It's quite right that we have to point the finger of blame at the authorities. Where's the local MP representing this poor man and his family? Can he feel the pain of families like this when he's comfortably sat in the air-conditioned chambers of Parliament in Male?

  8. perhaps Ali Imraan from RBS can tell us what we should do in a situation like this. How do people in the UK (particularly the London boroughs) treat their elderly? Are there lessons we can learn?

  9. Thank you minivan news for bringing this story with a very touching photo.....some of the commenters do not want to see the Maldives as it is....My question is why doesn't the stupid idiotic councilmen do something ?

  10. situation calls for facilities to care for our senior citizens. Its just not enough to give them 2000rf monthly stipend and think all will work well.

  11. The son is ultimately responsible and must take care of his father regardless of assistance from others or the State.

  12. I really dont blame the son. He has to earn and he cannot earn anything in the Island. We shud be thinking of reorganizing Guraidhoo welfare house.We shud be able to house our elders who need the support of the community and gov. Councillor shud assist Solih and send him to Guraidhoo so that he is fed and looked after.


  14. What are the elected Councillors doing? Its their job to facilitate the well being of the community.

  15. This is the result of failing to follow Islamic customs and implement the customs practiced in the Western countries.

  16. theres a long waiting list at guraidhoo the only asylum/metal facility in the Maldives,sometimes it is used as a nursing home for elderly. a volatile mix of old people mingling with psychiatric patients. the place is like hell. Patients are on waiting list for years waiting in their HOUSE without adequate medical care. The Disability Bill protects the psychiatric patients but doest cover the right to seek asylum/mental institution. Imagine treating a Bipolar Disorder Patient by family at own house and the subsequent mental and psychological strain where the solutiion is isolation which is painful but a must for most families

  17. @tsk tsk..this problem exists "Due to British influence and silly dabbling in our internal politics"? Hey, the British have many things they are responsible for, but the state of the Maldives in general is not one of them.

    Many elderly persons in the UK are also neglected by their families, and not adequately cared for by the state. Those who are in privately run (and very expensive) care homes are often only there waiting to die. There is no easy answer for this.

  18. i know it not a pretty job caring for an elderly person , but the fact and the matter is that elderly person was once a healthy able bodied person that cared and provided for his son , when he could not do so himself,before the govt it is the responsibility of the son to take care of the father,when he says he cannot care for his father because he has a family to support (i wonder what he means , when u get old and cannot care for yr self then yr out of the family tha) wat bullshit , shame on the son

  19. UK maybe bad on some things but caring for elderly is NOT one of them. They have a different culture and it does not always fall to the family to look after the elderly relatives. Elderly people with and without families are looked after in hospital while they are sick, when they are better they are either helped to live in their own homes and have people coming in to care for them and feed them or if not they live in old peoples homes where they are cared for 24 hours a day. If someone is neglected the state will always step in to help.

    Hospital care in the national health service is free for everyone, and those who need to live in old peoples homes only pay what they can afford, the rest is paid for by government. A lot of people pay nothing at all. They are NEVER left to suffer alone, even if they have family.

    Everyone over 65 has a basic pension from the government they also get extra winter money to pay for heating their houses in cold weather.

    In the UK they have laws to make sure the elderly are looked after, especially those with mental illness who cannot look after themselves.

    We will never be able to run such a system in this country for many reasons, but a start would be to pass some laws to make sure our elderly and mentally ill people are protected and not sent rot in Guraidhoo. If the Disability Bill protects psychiatric patients then why are they so badly treated in Guraidhoo? Surely it is a human right to be treated like a human being and seek help for a serious illness that affects your whole life?


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