elder abuse Essay

Submitted By blondie406
Words: 1640
Pages: 7

The Hidden Horror of Elder Abuse

Every year in Canada elders are being exposed to some form of abuse. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, “between 4% and 10% of Ontario’s seniors will experience some type of abuse” (“Supporting Seniors’ Mental Health,” 2008). The most common forms of elder abuse are financial abuse, followed by emotional abuse, neglect and then physical abuse. Consequently elders, who are exposed to any form of violence, can suffer emotional trauma, extreme bouts of depression, injury, and possibly permanent disability. As a result psychological damage may appear, making it difficult for the elder to function, and live there lives in a safe and healthy environment. Elder abuse has become an epidemic, for this reason people need to be aware of the different types, signs, symptoms and the various risk factors involved. Many elders are being abused often by their own family members. It has been estimated that roughly two-thirds of all elder abuse perpetrators are either the victim’s adult child or spouse. “In an unprecedented report to address elder abuse, Seniors Canada explains how an older adult can be perceived as vulnerable and a target. In some families, caregivers take out their frustrations on seniors who may not want to admit that abuse is happening. (Statistics Canada, 2011) It’s sad to think how many of the elderly generation are being abused today.”
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of elder abuse is important. There are many types of abuse and each is equally as destructive as the next. Physical abuse, however, is one that tends to be more apparent and is often distinguished by physical changes. “Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, such acts of violence as striking (with or without an object), hitting, beating, punching, shoving, shaking, slapping, kicking, pinching and burning. In addition, inappropriate use of drugs and any physical restraints, force-feeding, and physical punishment of any kind are also examples of physical abuse.” (“Types of Elder Abuse,” 2011, p.1) This form of abuse is often the triggering point for other types of abuse; “however,” more often than not, elders will keep quiet about being mistreated. Their fear of further or more severe punishments becomes so over powering that it becomes nothing more then a means for survival. Risk factors for elder abuse can be very complex. Generally a combination of mental and physical conditions of victim and perpetrators, contribute to the occurrence of elder mistreatment. According to Mia Dauvergne (2003) author of the article “Family Violence Against Seniors,” with each passing year, the need to qualify and understand abuse against the older adults by family members will become increasingly important. In most cases the abuse is of a family nature, and is particularly high when the adult child lives under the same roof as their elderly parent. Spousal abuse, however, should not go unrecognized, as it also contributes to a large part of elder abuse. The spouse will often show signs of abuse through physical abuse, emotional abuse, threats and any other tactics that will help them exert power and control over their often dependent partner. In addition to physical abuse there are other forms of elder abuse to consider. Although I am only briefly touching the surface of three of the several types of elder abuse, if we as a community wish to educate and promote public awareness some of the resources will be made assessable within this research paper. Financial abuse is another form of elder abuse. Often it is not recognized as easily as other forms because it is often hidden from both the victim and any other people involved in the care of that person. Therefore even seniors who speak out are often unable to convince authorities of their plight. For example: Fred, a 78-year old retired janitor, claims his youngest son “stole” his house by coercing him to add his name to