Elder abuse includes physical, emotional, and sexual abuse as well as neglect, exploitation and abandonment of our older generation (Falk, 2012). The people that cause these injuries include the elderly person’s own family and staff members of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, medical rehabilitation facilities and hospitals (NCOA, 2017). There is approximately 1 in 10 older adults that have experienced some type of elder abuse in the United States (NCOA, 2017). Within these staggering numbers, only 1
As our population ages there are more individuals who are relying on the assistance and the care from others in order to perform tasks throughout their day. With this reliance on other individual’s assistance the elderly population is at an increased rate of experiencing a form of abuse from their caregiver. Children or a spouse are often found to be the abuser for elderly individuals who are still living in the community setting (DeLiema, Navarro, Enguidanos, &Wilber, 2015). This is becoming a growing concern, as it is estimated that around 10% of the United States elderly population is currently or has experiences at least one form of abuse. The forms of abuse that can occur include physical, sexual, psychological or emotional, financial
This essay will examine elder abuse and its role in our society. The definition of elder abuse and the different types of elder abuse will be examined. Additionally, literature that highlight legislative changes to current elder abuse laws and the origins of those laws will be examined. The paper will also discuss national reports of elder abuse statistics and the current status of elder abuse. Finally, recommendations based upon the information researched will be provided as a guide for the future.
It is estimated that one in ten American over the age of 60 are victims of elder abuse each year. Elder abuse is a difficult subject; however, it is a subject that must be addressed. Thousands of senior citizens are being abused or neglected each day in this country. It is everyone’s responsibility to take acts to prevent elder abuse when possible.
One way elder abuse or elder mistreatment can be defined is, “intentional actions that cause harm or create a serious risk of harm, whether or not intended, to a vulnerable elder by a caregiver or other person who stands in a trust relationship to the elder” (Bonnie & Wallace). There are seven main forms of elder abuse which include emotional, physical, psychological, sexual, financial, neglect, abandonment, and self-neglect (Cohen, Levin, Gagin & Friedman, 2007; Fulmer, 2008; Thompson & Priest, 2005). Even though only 6.2% of victims are abused in long-term care settings, my experience of witnessing neglect and abandonment are very serious (Teaster et al., 2006).
With medical and technological advances, the United State’s life expectancy continues to increase, leading to an improved number of elderly individuals. As a nursing student, who worked at a nursing home for three years in high school, I am quite familiar with elderly abuse, especially institutional abuse. Prior to this discussion post, I persisted more familiar with the types of elderly abuse, rather than the incidence rates within the United States. To clarify this discussion post, elderly abuse stands defined as, “an intentional act, or failure to act, by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016). The risk of harm to an older adult subsisted evident in an institutional setting, from my work experience. While I cannot disclose that the nurses physically, sexually, or financially abused the residents, I am aware of the neglect and emotional abuse the occurred in this setting. The abuse that occurs to elderly individuals stems for two triggers – caregiver stress and the vulnerability of the elder. According to the textbook, “Exhaustion and anger can reach a boiling point and can create intergenerational conflicts” (Olson, DeFrain, & Skogrand, 2014, p. 383). When caregivers acquire stress, they tend to take out their aggression on the elder, intentionally or unintentionally, as they remain overwhelmed with emotions. Personally, I
Each year there is an estimated 4 million elderly Americans that are victims of physical, psychological, or abused in other ways (Elder Abuse and Neglect: In Search of Solutions. (n.d.). Retrieved January 26, 2016, from http://www.apa.org/pi/aging/resources/guides/elder-abuse.aspx). There are some cases that get reported to the proper authorities and some cases that do not get reported at all. For the abused elderly people, their lives are put at risk and their health also declines. They feel helpless and lonely and have increased psychological distress and research has suggested that these victims die earlier than those who have not been abused (Elder Abuse and Neglect: In Search of Solutions. (n.d.). Retrieved January 26, 2016, from http://www.apa.org/pi/aging/resources/guides/elder-abuse.aspx).
An estimated twenty-one percent of nursing home residents are neglected at least once in the past twelve months and more than twenty-four percent are abused at least once during their entire stay (Schub & Kornusky, 2014). In a study of 718 family members and others responsible for those ages 60 and older receiving long-term care in a nursing home, an assisted living facility or paid homecare, nearly 30 percent reported at least one instance of elder abuse in the past year. Neglect was the most common form and sexual abuse the least (Anetzberger, 2012).
Elder mistreatment is a serious problem in America, yet it often overlooked. Elder abuse is defined as abuse in older adults that includes, but isn’t limited to physical, emotional, financial or sexual abuse. It is a single or repeated act or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm. It is often misunderstood and dismissed as just a family matter when in fact, that is the least common source of cruelty amongst the elders. According to the National council of aging, 1 in 10 Americans aged 60 and older have experienced some form of abuse. Some estimates range as high as 5 million elders who are reportedly abused yearly.
Elder abuse is a serious problem and almost 14.1 percent of noninstutionalized older adults in the United States have experience it in the past year (govtrack.us, 2016). The elder abuse is any kind of mistreatment that causes harm or loss to an older adults and it is not only limited to physical and psychological abuse, but also include sexual and financial abuse, and neglect (National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, 2008). In addition, the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (2008) mentioned that older adults as a result of abuse can lose their independence, homes, life savings, health, dignity, and security. Most importantly, the older adults who have been abused are 300% at higher risk of death than non-abused older adults (N National Center on Elder Abuse, 2016).
The aging population is at high risk of being taken advantage of and mistreated by a caregiver or family member. Elders are the most vulnerable group of people and are subject to elder abuse in their later years of life. The Administration of Aging refers to elder abuse as the knowing, intentional, or negligent act that causes harm or serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult. Every year, hundreds of thousands of older adults are abused, neglected, and exploited. Unfortunately, a trusted caregiver or a loved one commits most of these heinous acts.
Elder abuse is a growing problem that can be a challenge to address. Physical, emotional, and financial abuse is associated with increased mortality rates, especially in those that are alone. The National center on Elder Abuse (as cited in Hoover & Polson, 2014) defines elder abuse as “intentional or neglectful acts by a caregiver or ‘trusted’ individual that lead to or may lead to, harm of a vulnerable elder”. Mistreatment of older adults will incline as the number of adults that need caregivers increase. The elder adult that is the most susceptible to abuse is most likely frail, defenseless, and cognitively impaired. Amidst all other problems, the older adult has encountered at least one type of abuse in their later years. Many cases of older adult abuse are not reported and the abuse continues until mortality.
Elder abuse is wide spread. Surprisingly, elder abuse was first described in research articles in the 1970s. Its severity and rates of occurrence continue to increase. Acierno et al. (2010) conducted a national telephone interview survey of randomly selected adults from several geographical areas who were at least 60 years old. Average age of respondents was 71.5 years. Most of the abused were women (39.8%). Over 68% were married or cohabitating. Most were white (87.5%). Eighty percent were unemployed or retired, 45.7% had low incomes and 62% had endured at least one traumatic event. Almost half needed some type of social services or daily living assistance. The data collected indicated the most prevalent abuses reported by the 5777 respondents over their lifetimes were: emotional mistreatment (21.7%), physical abuse (12%) and sexual mistreatment (7%). Within the previous year, potential neglect and financial mistreatment by family members each occurred about 5%
Older adults are the ones that tend to be most forgotten by being pushed away into a nursing home, where their families seldom visit, or tend to be overlooked and bypassed. A majority of American’s assume that just because a person is much older, means that they do not have the same problems as the younger generations, however, that is false. Older people can have the same problems has everyone else, they can have depression, they can have a sex drive, and have an increase chance of being mistreated and abused. When discussing elder mistreatment, people are sometimes taken back that elders can in fact be mistreated. Senior citizens have a great change of being abused because of the type of care-giver they have, the health issues that have put
Elderly care is now one of the main priorities now because these older people 65 or older are 13% of this society. What can we do to keep them alive and live longer than ever? If the elders stay healthy with weight(obesity), food balance and the right care they will be fine. But what I am most concerned about is the abuse of the many elders in nursing homes.