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Elder Abuse and Neglect

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Thesis: Elder abuse and neglect is a bigger problem than we think. Why elder abuse and neglect stays so hidden.
A.Why know one notices Elder abuse and neglect.
B.Elder abuse in the home.
II.How the abused feel?
A.Family is the abuser
1. What makes a family member act to way they do.
B. Different kinds of abuse.
1. Mental
2. Physical
III. Conclusion

Even though some important steps have been taken in addressing the problem of neglect and elder abuse, the problem has not seen the same amount of attention as other forms of domestic violence. People all over the U.S. doubt that older people living in their own homes or with relatives are abused in any way. When elder abuse is mentioned the public usually thinks of crime in the streets or nursing home abuses or of fraudulent insurance schemes. The public just doesn’t want to accept the fact that these older people that are frail, vulnerable, and unable to protect themselves, are being abused all the time by the people that they trust (their caregivers, families, nurses, doctors, or attorneys).

Why has elder abuse and neglect stayed so hidden. Some reasons depend on how the family is and others can be linked to how they are at work between domestic abusers an there victims. Another reason is the feelings the public has about growing old. There has been a lack of information and lack of support services for elders, because agencies have had trouble trying to make up policies and procedures that address elder abuse and neglect.

Professionals that have worked with all kinds of cases in the field of family violence know that is one of the hardest societal problems there is. Even after twenty-five years of awareness there is a lot of work to be done.

Elderly abuse and neglect is emotionally charged issues. The home is supposed to be the one place where people feel the most secure. Knowing that the elderly is not safe at there own home makes the public feel uneasy. The problem about the elderly being abused in there own home is that if violence occurs it will stay a private matter. The rule of family privacy is so strong that it works to prevent the victims from seeking help.

The main reason elderly that is being abused by there family and not reporting it is they are concerned about their family’s privacy and the privacy of their relationships. The elderly fear public exposure and the shame at having raised a child who would hurt them in any way. Most cases the elderly would rather suffer in silence than break family code. Also, if they tell on there family member, that member might respond with more mistreatment. If that family member goes to jail then no one will take care of them. This means they will have to go to a nursing home. That is the last thing an elderly person wants.

The abuser also plays a role in why elderly abuse and neglect doesn’t get reported. Usually the abuser doesn’t think they are doing anything wrong. They are in denial. The fact is that once you abuse them once, you will keep on doing it. The abuser could be stress with having to care for their family member.

Some of the reasons that we do not recognize elderly abuse and neglect are the isolation of the aged. The elderly that is frail are more invisible to the public and people can’t see or tell that they are be abused. They just stay in one room. The only way for abuse to get known is if a family member or friend comes by.

Older people today are more visible, more active, and more independent than ever. They are living longer and in better health. But as the population of older Americans grows, so does the hidden problem of elder abuse a neglect. Every year about 2.1 million older Americans are victims of physical, psychological, or other forms of abuse and neglect. The stats might not tell the whole story. For every case of elder abuse and neglect that is reported to authorities, experts say that there may be as many as five cases that have not been reported. Recent studies have shown that elders that have been abused tent to die earlier that those who are not abused, even in the absence of chronic conditions or life threatening disease.

Most cases of elder abuse don’t happen in a nursing home. Sometimes there are shocking reports of nursing home patients who are mistreated by the staff. Abuse like this does occur, but it is not the most common type of elder abuse. Only about four percent of elder adults live in a nursing home, and most of the elders that live in nursing homes have there physical needs met without experiencing abuse or neglect.

Most elders live on their own or with their children, spouses, siblings, or other relatives. Not in a nursing home. Although there are extreme cases of elderly abuse, often the abuse subtle, and the distinction between normal interpersonal stress and abuse is not always easy to discern.

There is no single pattern of elder abuse in the home. Sometimes the abuse is a continuation of long-standing patterns of physical or emotional abuse within the family. Maybe in most cases the abuse is related to changes in living situations and relationships brought about by the older person’s growing frailty and dependence on others for companionship and for meeting basic needs.

It isn’t just mentally impaired elderly people who are vulnerable to abuse. Elders who are ill, frail, disable, mentally impaired, or depressed are at greater risk of abuse, but even those who do not have these obvious risk factors can find themselves in abusive situations and relationships.

Elder abuse, like other forms of violence, is never an acceptable response to any problem. Effective interventions can prevent or stop elder abuse. By telling physicians, mental health professionals, home health care workers, and others who provide services to the elderly and family members, patterns of abuse and neglect can be broken, and both the abused and the abuser can receive help.

To prevent elder abuse is to recognize that no one—of whatever age—should be subjected to violent, abusive, humiliating, or neglectful behavior. In addition to promoting this social attitude, positive steps include educating people about elder abuse, increasing the availability of respite care, promoting increased social contact and support for families with dependent older adults, and encouraging counseling and treatment to cope with personal and family problems that contribute to abuse. Violence, abuse, and neglect toward elders are signs that the people involved need help—immediately.

Education is the cornerstone of preventing elder abuse. Media coverage of abuse in nursing homes has made the public knowledgeable about—and outraged against—abusive treatment in those settings. Because most abuse occurs in the home by family members or caregivers, there needs to be a concerted effort to educate the public about the special needs and problems of the elderly and about the risk factors for abuse.

Over the last couple of years, elder abuse and neglect has been over looked. That’s going to have to change due to the rapidly increasing number of old people. This reality is affecting a lot of people who have to take care of them. These families having to take care of older people must remember that the elderly doesn’t want to be a burden. Just because they might be a burden shouldn’t lead to abuse and neglect.

Works Cited
Kiffin, Jake M.S.W. Internet Article on “Hidden abuse”. Published June 19, 2005 Limburg, Racheal R. “Elder Neglect.” Weston Journal 12 Jan 2006: 2. Mary Joy Quinn, R.N., M.A. and Susan K. Tomita, M.S.W. Elder Abuse and Neglect. Springer Publishing Company New York. Maurice Scott, Elder Abuse. Attorney at law 17011 Beach Boulevard. Payton, John wrote a newspaper article on Jason Beal’s book called “The real problem” December 11, 2005 Stiller, Jessica S. Forms of Domestic violence. Springfield: Myla, 2003.

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