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Elder Abuse Essay

Autor:   •  March 15, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,667 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,275 Views

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Elder Abuse

The past 35 years has brought a heightened awareness of a silent epidemic that has griped the lives of countless elderly adults, elder abuse. This abuse has been prevalent throughout history though rarely spoken of. Today we have designated a day called World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), which has been designated for June 15th. Although there is a heightened awareness of the plight of the elderly, abuse is only now being brought to the forefront because of the ever increasing elder population. Older Americans are living longer, healthier lives, but unfortunately so is the abuse of the elderly. Not all older Americans are living healthy, full independent lives; many are frail, dependent upon someone to help them with their day to day care. It is these vulnerable older people that fall victim to abuse, usually from the people they depend upon for their very survival. Psychological abuse is one of the most damaging types of abuse that any person can succumb to. It leads to feelings of low self-worth, helplessness, and hopelessness.

Abuse has many forms, but psychological abuse has the most long lasting affect upon those being afflicted by this type of abuse. "Psychological abuse is the willful infliction of mental or emotional anguish by threat, humiliation, or other verbal or nonverbal conduct (http://www.preventelderabuse.org)." This usually occurs between people that are expected to care for the elderly where there is an expectation of trust that is violated. There is a perception that caregivers are always kind and caring and this is unfortunately far from the truth. Hired caregivers can be just as abusive as family members that may be overwhelmed from the responsibility of care giving. No person should have to succumb to abuse of any kind, whether they are young or old; every person deserves to be treated with respect.

Life expectancy has increased dramatically. "In the United States, the average life expectancy has grown 28 years since the year 1900…in 1776; the average life expectancy for men and women was 35. Today it is over 75 (Aging and Mental Health p.3)." The longevity being experienced by older people brings with it a new set of problems. Things that people once took for granted, such as social security being enough to subsist on until death is no longer a reality. Technology has helped offset the age at which older people reach eminent death, and with that a longer period for care givers to be there for their aging relatives. The silent problem of elder abuse increases with age expectancy. Few older people are living with dignity, love, family, and friends that are there for them in good times and bad. Isolation from family increases as older people are no longer able to ‘keep up' with family trips and outings. Some older people who live with family find themselves in this very situation as well. They are often left

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