In a perfect world, no child would go hungry, war would be a distant memory, and no elderly person would ever be abused or neglected. But this is not a perfect world. Each year, it is estimated that almost ten percent of all people over the age of sixty will suffer some kind of elder abuse. In most cases, the perpetrator is either an adult child, or a spouse.
When you mention the word, “abuse,” the most common perception is that of physical abuse. However, there are many other types. With the elderly, neglect is by far the most prevalent form. It is estimated that nearly sixty percent of elder abuse cases are due to neglect. But this isn’t only perpetrated by other people. Sometimes, it is self-neglect.
Self-neglect in the elderly is a growing problem. With technology making it easier to become isolated from others, it also makes it easier to neglect basic needs, like personal hygiene and appropriate clothing. If you never leave the house, who will know that you don’t have winter clothing? It is also not uncommon for the elderly to stop taking medication, whether because of financial limitations or just because they lose the desire to try and make themselves better. Often, this behavior goes unnoticed for a long period of time because of the isolation they have imposed upon themselves. Regular visits from Adult Protective Services or a caregiver can help curb this behavior and at least keep an eye on the situation.
Emotional or psychological abuse are also a huge problem with the elderly. It is difficult to imagine, but sometimes, the people who are supposed to care the most for you end up being the worst to you. This is often the case with the elderly. Whether because of financial constraints or being overwhelmed by the care necessary, no reason excuses the emotional abuse of someone entrusted to your care. But often, the abuser makes the person feel either responsible for the mistreatment, or so dependent that they never reach out for help.
Regardless of the form it takes, elder abuse is a growing problem in our society. With more and more Seniors living longer than ever expected, families and caregivers are unprepared for the extent of care sometimes necessary. Senior living facilities can be a lifesaver. Not only can they take the burden of care off the family, but by doing so, they can help make the time spent together much more enjoyable.