Needful Souls Essay

Submitted By peggylsims
Words: 1772
Pages: 8

Needful souls As stated by the famous actor Mickey Rooney, “You can be in control of your life one minute and in the next minute, you have absolutely no control.” This statement expresses the position seniors find themselves in because as a person ages, one’s health and mobility begin to deteriorate. When the health and mobility of the senior deteriorates to the degree where he can no longer care for himself, the he must depend on his care from others such as family, friends, or institutions. Often times this care is received with the high price tag known as abuse. Thousands of seniors across America suffer from elder abuse and neglect. According to Phillips, “Elder abuse is a complex phenomenon involving the interaction of at least two parties who have established patterns of interaction over many years” (391). The abuse and neglect of elderly Americans is a crucial and unacceptable problem that leaves a lasting impact on seniors and their families emotionally, physically, and financially, with less than acceptable punishment given to the perpetrator by our judicial system. It is evident that something must be done to address this phenomenon to guard aging Americans from such catastrophe. A thorough look at this proposed plan will explain how society can identify and remedy the problem of abuse and neglect of seniors. Neglect and abuse of the elderly has been around for centuries but according to Penhale, “Concerning elder abuse and neglect it was not until the 1980’s, within a European context, that professionals began to draw attention to the phenomenon” (236). As the attention grew rapidly and aggressively, Congress proposed a study in 1992 that shed new light to Americans on the issues of abuse and neglect of American seniors. As reported by Acierno etl., “The National Elder Abuse Incidence Study, conducted more than a decade ago, was the first major investigation of mistreatment of the elderly in the United States” (292). This study substantiates the fact that senior abuse is a rapidly growing trend in America. Many Americans agree that the ageing American population is taken care of and safeguarded from harm, while many other Americans dispute this claim and argue that the abuse and neglect that seniors endure is an unacceptable trend that must be halted. Many Americans deem elderly abuse and neglect as problematic. Americans who reguard elderly abuse and neglect as a problem have an obvious reason to do so. This is because all Americans will all be a senior at some point in their lifespan. This reality demonstrates that all debilitated seniors will be at the mercy of a caregiver at some point in their life. While at the mercy of a caregiver, it is possible the elder may feasibly encounter one or many forms of elder abuse. As stated by Wolf, “The mistreatment can be an act of commission(abuse) or omission(neglect), intentional or unintentional, and of one or more types: physical, psychological(or emotional), or financial abuse and neglect that result in unnecessary suffering, injury, pain, loss or violation of human rights, and decreased quality of life” (p 7). A misconception is that abuse is always identifiable. This is not factual because often times the abuser justifies the abuse to victim making her feel like it is her fault and she deserved the abuse. The abuser then apologizes making the victim believe it will not happen again. If physical marks are left on the victim, the abuser persuades the victim to make excuses and lie about what happened. If this trend continues and the problem goes unresolved, seniors will continue to live miserable lives in which they have no control and suffer abuse that can be severe enough to cause the senior to pay the ultimate sacrifice which is death. First, an obvious and prominent effect of elder abuse and neglect is the emotional impact left on the senior. The biggest emotional impact is depression. “About 44% of all substantiated abused elders were gauged to be