DIMAH TALAL AL-SHARIF February 02, 2022
My article today is one of the closest to my heart because it touches on the rights of our dear elders.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia now has a law to preserve and protect the rights of the elderly, with these rights having been defined in the law as all of their legitimate or regular rights, including their financial, physical, social, and moral rights.
In addition, the law defines the care that should be provided to the elderly in need, such as housing, food, clothing, health, physical, psychological, social, and recreational care.
As for those who take care of them, they are defined as the ones who take care of the old person in need and protect their rights.
The law clearly calls for the older person’s ability to live in an environment that preserves his rights and dignity, to disseminate community awareness and education to reflect the rights of old people, to provide documented statistical information on old people to use for relevant studies and research, and to assist in the development of plans and programs.
Of course, the law also focuses on the rehabilitation of public and commercial facilities and the surrounding environment to be appropriate to the needs of the elderly.
The elderly have the right to live with their families, who have to accommodate and take care of them, where the responsibility is on family members in accordance with the following sequence: The husband or wife, if she wishes, and, if this is not possible, then the father if he is able and then one of his male children. If this is not possible, it will move to one of his male grandchildren and, if this is not possible, it will move to one of his or her male brothers.
The duty of care may also be transferred to those chosen by the elder with the presence of the first person.
In the case of disagreement or negligence, the competent court shall determine the responsible person from the elder’s family, taking into account his or her interests.
Furthermore, the law also stipulates that social welfare homes may accommodate the elder only after their consent after a judicial decision has been issued, or in cases that pose a risk to the life or safety of the elderly person in accordance with regulations.
But what would happen if the responsible person was unable to provide care for the elder in need and there was nobody in his family who was able to provide such care?
In this case, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development will provide the necessary amount that will enable the care provider to take care of the elderly.
Also, the ministry has the right to guardianship for an elderly person who is incompetent or deficient, who has been proven by the judiciary to have no guardian or to have a guardian who has abandoned or failed to claim his rights.
Moreover, the law has stressed that the care provider is prohibited from disposing of the money belonging to the elder without his consent or intentionally violating the protection and care of the rights stated and intentionally misusing the money of an elderly person. Whoever violates any of the law’s provisions shall be punished with one or more of the following penalties: Imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year and a fine not exceeding SR500,000 ($133,273).
The penalty for the violator may be doubled in the event of recurrence, not exceeding double the prescribed maximum.
• Dimah Talal Alsharif is a Saudi lawyer and legal consultant. Twitter: @dimah_alsharifDisclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News’ point-of-view