Recognizing Elder Abuse – Grandma’s Broken Glasses, and Other Subtle Signs of Trouble
March 2, 2009
Regardless of age, all people deserve to be treated with dignity, respect, and in a fashion that keeps them safe from physical, emotional, and financial harm. This is particularly relevant with respect to the relationship between caretakers and those who require care. Each year an estimated 2.1 million seniors in America fall victim to people who abuse their trust and need. The media has done a good job of grandstanding such abuse in public forums, such as nursing homes. But alarmingly, most elder abuse occurs in the most private of settings, the elder’s home, where abuse is least likely to be recognized by outsiders who could intervene and provide help.
The overwhelming majority of elder abuse occurs at the hands of family members, other household members, and paid caregivers. These people have the closest contact with their victims, which puts them in a position to inflict abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Unfortunately, the very situation that requires elderly people to rely on others is often the single most contributing factor in their abuse, their dependence upon another.
The physical presence of someone so dependent within a family’s home changes the dynamics of that home, as lifestyles must be adjusted. It causes additional stress within a unit that already has its own internal stresses. …
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by: Gina M. Barry, Esq.
March 2, 2009