As people age and depend on others more because they become physically frail and cannot stand up for themselves, they get bullied and they can’t fight back for their rights. There are old homes around the world and we get to listen to unusual stories how seniors get tortured, some by their own family, a few by strangers. As people take advantage of them, it leaves them with mental or physical ailments. June 15th of every year marks Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
Shakespeare in ‘Seven Ages of Man’ defined the seventh stage of man as a very aged man in which he behaves like a child, he likes to be taken care of, needs attention and love, they mostly lose their sight, hearing abilities and this is when they need someone to understand them. Elder abuse has many forms, involving bullying and victimization or threats. Some involve financial deception and others involve negligence or abandonment by family members. The different cases, causes and effects of elder abuse are listed below:
Elders get physically abuse and this is the use of force that results in leaving the victim in pain or injury, this is abuse totally non-accidental. Physical abuse does not only include the hitting or slapping and bruising but it also includes the forceful use of drugs or confinements.
Words really hit you deep, emotional abuse is when an elderly person is emotionally in pain or distress by the way of a person speaking. Emotional abuse includes yelling and threats, in many cases elders are habitually blamed or scapegoated. Other than this, ignorance is also emotional abuse, when elders are isolated from their family, it causes them depression and this is the worst kind of abuse to elders.
Financial exploitation is the unauthorized use of a person’s property or invading their funds. This includes the following things:
- Stealing of income checks or cash
- Misuse of credit cards and bank accounts or without asking using their cards and personal checks
- Forging the signature
- Frauds in investment
Protect Yourself from Elder Abuse
Protect yourself from elder abuse as well before it’s too late, it is never bad to take precautions.
- Your financial and legal documents should be in order, if they are not then ask a trusted friend or family member for assistance.
- Always keep your family and friends in touch in order to avoid isolation in future.
- If you do not feel secure living in your house and you are not happy with care you are receiving then trust someone and report the abuse or negligence.
In spite of so much awareness, there are people who would not report the incidents and they feel ashamed of their experiences. In majority of the cases, people who do not report elder abuse or neglect it, are those who are abused by their family member or trusted friend. It gets awfully painful to tell others that someone you trusted neglects you or does not treat you right. There are abusers who make things worse by blaming the victim and constantly torturing them about whatever they are going through is their ‘own fault.’ Sometimes, elders are threatened of revealing the abuse to anyone. The thinking of an elder dependent on a person who is abusing is that they have no other option but to live with this pain and fear, they accept this tragic life and choose it. If you are an elder, know your rights. If you are younger and you abuse your elders, then make sure you straighten out your priorities.