Saturday, June 17, 2017

Who are the victims of elder abuse? The disabled, cognitively impaired and poor.

In recent years, the United Nations has increased the number of “international days” it observes. Many of these observances have gained global momentum and support, such International Women’s Day (March 8) and World AIDS Day (Dec. 1), which serve both educational and advocacy goals.

On June 15, the United Nations observes the less publicized World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, focusing attention on the hidden tragedy of abuse, neglect and exploitation of elderly people throughout the world. While this year’s theme focuses specifically on financial abuse, the sad reality is that the elderly face a broad array of exploitation that includes physical, medical, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse. The perpetrators include caregivers, strangers and, most tragically, family and friends.  A recent study has shown that perpetrators are more likely to be the spouses and adult children of victims rather than strangers. This means the specific abuse is compounded by the violation of profound trust.

According to the Justice Department, 10 percent of seniors are abused each year, with only 1 out of every 23 cases reported. The most likely victims are women, people with cognitive impairments, people without relatives, those with disabilities and those who are ill-housed, poor, physically weak or socially isolated.

The National Center on Elder Abuse reports that the study of elder abuse “lags as much as two decades behind” parallel research about child abuse and domestic violence. Why? Elder abuse targets those who are vulnerable — and those who are most vulnerable are sometimes unwilling or often unable to seek help. Even those who are capable of seeking help have compelling reasons not to.

Love for a caregiver or embarrassment about the situation can make reporting difficult. Moreover, elders who do report abuse are more likely to be placed in nursing homes. While our society is getting more adept at identifying, preventing and addressing abuse for other demographic groups, the abused elderly remain at great risk because they are often voiceless.

Without further action, these problems may be exacerbated in the years to come. The Census Bureau reports that in 2012, the U.S. population age 65 or older was 40.3 million. With the aging baby boomers, this figure is expected to nearly double by 2050. The population age 85 and over is expected to grow from 5.0 million to 18 million in that same time.

This pattern is reflected worldwide. According to the United Nations, the growth of the elderly population will be most pronounced in economically developing nations, and elder abuse is described as “one of the least investigated types of violence.”  (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
Who are the victims of elder abuse? The disabled, cognitively impaired and poor.

1 comment:

Karen said...

We know who the vics are but what we don't see is more investigations and indictments.