This shouldn’t happen to anyone

November 6, 2018 18:53

By Fabiosa

Abuse of the elderly can occur in several ways: from simple neglect to financial or even physical abuse. Because seniors make up a large proportion of the total population, it is extremely important to raise awareness of one of the biggest problems that many older people can identify with, namely the abuse of seniors. First of all, however, we need to understand what it is, what forms the abuse of the elderly can take and how often it occurs.

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What is the abuse of the elderly?

Different experts suggest different definitions. In summary, the abuse of the elderly is understood to mean an act (a single act or performed multiple times) or the lack of a corresponding act that causes suffering or pain to an older adult. Abuse of the elderly can be intentional or unintentional and can take many different forms.

The Different Forms of Abuse against Seniors

1. Neglect

This form of abuse often happens when caregivers do not properly care for the elderly. This may be that seniors do not get enough food or water, or their safety and comfort are at risk. Self-neglect is another form of abuse that occurs frequently. Here, a person is no longer able to take care of himself for financial, psychological or physiological reasons.

2. Physical abuse

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, physical abuse is understood to mean any form of physical handling that leads to injuries to the body, pain and, in particular, impairment. You can identify physical abuse by the following symptoms: broken bones, cuts, bruises, and wounds. However, the most common symptom of physical abuse is a sudden change in behavior due to domestic violence.

3. Psychological (emotional) abuse

Violence can also be expressed verbally, which can lead to pain, severe suffering, mental problems etc. Attempts at intimidation, harassment, humiliation and even threats against an older person are part of an emotional abuse.

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4. Sexual abuse

Sometimes seniors can also be victims of sexual abuse, which basically relate to all types of non-consensual sexual activity: from touching to rape, filming and taking nude photos.

5. Financial exploitation

Seniors often become victims of financial manipulation by their family members. It often happens that their adult children make use of the funds or even the property of their old parents. You can forge the signature, steal property and money, and force the elderly to sign checks and other documents, etc.

6. Leaving

This is probably the most dishonorable form of elder abuse. Often this happens when the caregiver is no longer able or willing to take care of the older person and instead decides to leave.

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Statistics related to the abuse of the elderly

At the present time it is problem regarding the abuse of the elderly still evident and must be resolved. According to various studies, more than a million elderly U.S. citizens over the age of 65 have been, or have been ill-treated, injured or exploited by their caregivers. And if you’re wondering how many incidents are reported each year: only every fifth case!

  • In summary, statistics from the National Center on Elder Abuse show that the most commonly reported cases of ill-treatment of seniors are verbal (psychological), financial, and physical.
  • In most cases (in approx. 75% of all cases) family members (usually the spouse or the child) are the perpetrators.
  • Victims of elderly abuse often experience several types of abuse. Those victims who are financially exploited are also reported to be often psychologically abused.
  • Two thirds of the victims are female and only one third of the victims are male.
  • There is no connection between the perpetrators and their gender. Half of the perpetrators are female and the other half are male.
  • Most cases of elder abuse are reported by social workers (35%) and family members (16%).
  • Unfortunately, the statistics on this topic are not reassuring at all. Approximately 40% of nursing staff admitted that they had previously ill-treated patients. This is absolutely shocking, isn’t it?

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By 2015, the number of people on our planet who are 60 or older will have more than doubled: from 900 million to 2 billion. This means that we have to take measures to protect our older people. Most victims are dependent on their caregivers. And those who have been abused suffer from it strongly increased risk (approximately 300%) of dying within three to five years, unlike those who have not been abused. Older people, like everyone else, deserve to have their needs met.

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