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Why! Elder Abuse.Why!

By bellarosa Jan 28, 2012 1199 Words
Elder abuse, A Social Problem

Elderly abuse has not been researched enough, although there has been recent expansion on the research of abuse of the elderly.   However, it is still lacking adequate theory because there has not been enough research done, data collected on why it happens, or the characteristics of the abuser and victim. There are some diseases that cannot always be treated or prevented, but negligence and abuse can always be prevented. By learning to recognize the signs and symptoms of elder abuse, there will be a decrease in the number of the elderly who are abused and neglected. Within this paper you will find that both men and women are victims of elder abuse, crimes against the elderly, elder abuse with celebrities, main problems with elder abuse and a way to help stop elder abuse by education.

It is said that Women are predominantly the victims of elder abuse and that men are the abusers, this is not always true, Men are also victims of elder abuse with women as the abusers.  However, there has not been a firm definition of what is elder abuse.  Some experts suggest that elder abuse should be included in the definition of domestic violence. Experts have found in their studies that women are the majority of the physically abused, where men were the larger average of elderly individuals who were neglected. However, many experts also state that focusing on the definition of elder abuse is counter-productive as in focusing on the issue that women are the majority of abused victims. Feminist theorists have failed to produce enough data here, although they have the expertise to contribute to this research. (Wolf, 2000)

Categories of elder abuse and neglect include such diverse harmful acts as hitting the person, withholding food or water, bullying and threatening, abandoning them when they cannot care for themselves. Which involve elders in their homes or in residential care (Wolf, 2000).

According to the news on ABC, even celebrities are victims of elder abuse, such as Mickey Rooney. Who is a 90-year-old actor, who has had one of the longest careers of any actor, was granted court protection from stepson Chris Aber and his stepdaughter Christina Aber, after he filed a case against them charging verbal, emotional and financial abuse, and for denying him such basic necessities as food and medicine. The court documents say that both Chris and Christina Aber have been keeping Rooney as "effectively a prisoner in his own home" through the use of threats, intimidation and harassment (abcnews.com) In the United States most of the abuse has came from nursing homes, but now the abuse is coming from the offspring of the elderly. Even though the government officials are trying to pass new laws to protect the elderly, the abuse continues. Did you know that 90% of abuse and neglect is perpetrated by family members or relatives, two-thirds by the spouse or adult child of the victim (Administration on Aging, 2004b).

One of the main problems with elder abuse is the failure to acknowledge it as a form of real abuse.   The ‘caregiver’ is already excused by getting this label as the ‘carer’.   There is also the focus on the elder individual as the catalyst to the abuse, by pushing the carer to his or her limits.   The elder individual is seen as overly dependent and has added stress to the caregiver. Violence toward the elderly by their middle-aged children or others is a special form of family violence and, just like child abuse and domestic violence, deserves to be recognized, investigated and appropriate interventions provided to save victims from unnecessary suffering. What is abuse? “It is a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person or violates their human and civil rights (Brandl, 2000). The victim fears reporting such abuse will result in losing ties with that relative or that the relationship will be upset. In several circumstances the victim would be dependent on the perpetrator a caregiver and they are afraid of ending up in long term care if they report the abuse. There may also be the fear that the abuser may find out. Furthermore, they might not have the confidence to report the abuse, and are afraid they won’t remain anonymous. Maybe there is a possibly of failure to recognize abuse and they do not know what is happening to them is classified as abuse.

From the functionalist perspective, aging is a social problem because the institutions of modern society are not meeting the needs of the dependent elderly. Interactionist believes that the elderly are stigmatized because they do not conform to the norms of a youth-oriented culture. Conflict theorist view the problems of the elder as stemming from lack of power to shape social institution to meet their needs (http://apa.org/)

As a human service professional we can help in the fight to stop Elder abuse, by joining groups like the NCEA, and get involved in their World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. (http://www.ncea.aoa.gov). We can help to educate the society, community, on the signs of Elder Abuse with a brochure on Signs of Elder Abuse and by joining the White House on the ”Taking a Stand against Elder Abuse” that happens every year on the Annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (whitehouse.gov). Elder abuse is just like Domestic Violence and society should not let this type of abuse happen to anyone.

In conclusion; as citizens of United States, we must make ourselves aware of the signs of Elder Abuse. We must give respect to the elderly and if we suspect an elderly person is being abused by their family or a professional do not be afraid to report the abuse to the proper authorities. This paper gave you information as stated and that both men and women are victims of elder abuse, there are many crimes against the elderly, there is elder abuse with celebrities, there are main problems with elder abuse and there is a way to help stop elder abuse by education and planning. It is not an easy road but if we all work together to stop elderly abuse, we can stop it!

Reference
Halphen, John M., Grace M. Varas, and June M. Sadowsky. 2009. "Recognizing and reporting elder abuse and neglect." Geriatrics 64, no. 7: 13-18. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed June 18th, 2011). Administration on Aging (2004b) Elder Abuse, Retrieved, June 18th, 2011 from http://www.aoa.gov/eldfam National Center on Elder Abuse. (2004). The Basics. Retrieved June 17th, 2011 from http://www.elderabusecenter.org/default.cfm?p=basic.cfm Brandl, B. (2000) Power and control: Understanding domestic abuse in later life. Generations, 24(11), 39-45 National Council on Child Abuse and Family Violence. Retrieved March 18th, 2011, from http://www.nccafv.org/elder.htm#top http://apa.org/

http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/Ncearoot/Main_Site/pdf/publication/Join_Us_Campaign_tipsheet_indv_final.pdf retrieved June 21st, 20011 http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/06/13/taking-stand-against-elder-abuse

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