Elder Abuse: Another Menace to Seniors
The life of a senior is often like playing with a loaded dice – they lose each toss.
Not only do we face a myriad of problems, i.e., physical, mental, social, money, loneliness and many others, we are also easy preys to elder abuse.
For example, the U.S. Justice Department estimates that 1 in 10 seniors are abused each year. The figures could be higher if all cases are reported.
Elder abuse, in all its forms, is ugly, painful, costly and very wrong. It is disgusting because the victims are helpless and weak to protect themselves.
Yet, it is happening every day.
Most Common forms of Elder Abuse:
1. Physical: Intentional use of force resulting in physical pain, injury or impairment; giving of inappropriate medications, restraints or confinement also falls under this category.
2. Emotional: Yells, threats, humiliation, ridicule and constant blaming for everything constitute this form of abuse.
3. Psychological: Ignoring or isolating the elderly from friends and social circle, terrorizing or menacing are forms of psychological abuse.
4. Neglect: Intentional or unintentional withholding or denial of medications, food, hygiene or sanitation, and social interaction.
5. Fraud: Is the misuse of an elderly’s personal checks, credit cards or bank accounts. This also includes stealing money or goods, forging an elderly’s signature with the intent of defrauding its owner.
6. Scams: Duping an elderly into paying money in exchange for a having won a non-existing price, investment schemes, phony charities, and many more.
Of the six, the most common is financial abuse, “the signature crime of the 21st century,” says Richard Corday, director of the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
What makes it heinous is that is that 90% of the cases are committed by family members and close friends. The rest are by caregivers and predatory outsiders.
Effects of Elder Abuse:
If you are a victim of elder abuse or knows one who is, don’t let it pass – open up to a close confidante who may be able to help. Better still, call 911 or the Adult Protection Service.
Don’t keep it to yourself hoping that it will just go away. It won’t and may even become worse. Keeping it to yourself can lead to serious medical issues.
Studies show that abused elderly people are three times more likely to die prematurely, three times more likely to be hospitalized and four times more like to be admitted to nursing homes – compared to a similar group of abuse-free seniors.
We are all potential victims:
No matter how safe, secure and protected you are right now, things could suddenly change.
Studies show that the older you get the more likely you will be abused. You will be prone to abuse when you cannot feed yourself, or need help in taking your medicine.
Seniors who are sick, forgetful, and can hardly hear or see are more likely to be abused; so are those with dementia.
I still have full control of my faculties, yet sometimes I am at the receiving end of my daughter’s stressful day. Each time it happens, however, I will make her feel, in very certain ways, that I am not happy with her treatment.
You can do likewise. In fact, we should all have our sentiments felt by our tormentors.
We have spent all our lives taking care of them. We are not expecting in return in our later years but to be treated humanely.
Is that too much?
Another thing you can do is to seek help from your family lawyer to come up with legal protection against abuse from family members or outsiders when you could no longer fend for yourself.
Authorities have a hard time prosecuting elder abuse cases because the victims are often not cooperating. If we maintain this attitude, elder abuse will never stop.
We might even be among the victims. You don’t like that, don you?
Please share with other seniors so they will know the risks of being abused and not to take it like a lamb.