Elder abuse significantly undermines the quality of life of older individuals in societies. More senior manipulation includes acts that cause harm to people aged 60 years and above. Elder abuse also entails the failure to take appropriate action to prevent damage or risk of injury to the elderly (Yon et al., 2017). Many people perceive elder abuse as the physical and sexual abuse of older people; although this idea is technically correct, it is uncomprehensive. Abuse comes in several forms that are not necessarily physical or sexual. These forms of elder manipulation include neglect, psychological and financial abuse.
Physical abuse constitutes inflicting physical pain, causing injury, and any functional impairment due to deliberate use of physical force. Sexual abuse involves coercing an older person to engage in any form of sexual interaction. Psychological manipulation refers to verbal or non-verbal behaviors that are hurtful or cause distress to older individuals. It often involves constant yelling, humiliation, and threats in public (Yon et al., 2017). Financial exploitation is defined as the misappropriation of funds or assets meant for older people. It constitutes swindling the older people’s savings, using false cover to benefit financially from assets intended for the older people, and forgery. The primary caregiver mainly perpetrates neglect, and it entails the deliberate or non-deliberate acts which deprive the older people of their physical or emotional needs (Yon et al., 2017). Whereas elder abuse comes in various guises, the aggregate ramifications are the same; it leads to adverse long-term psychological consequences.
Family members and professional caregivers in nursing homes are the most common abusers (Yon et al., 2019). Despite being related to older persons, family members are the most notorious perpetrators of elder abuse, which is ironic. Family members are almost always the culprits behind financial abuse, and this is because of closeness with the older person. They can access their financial and other personal information with relative ease and even initiate transactions on their behalf without their knowledge. Family members close to the elder individual usually assume the primary caregiver’s role by default without proper training on caring for them. This explains why most family members fail at caregiving and ends up being abuse instead.
Professional caregivers at adult care institutions are also common elder abusers. It is often shocking to see abuse coming from the people most qualified to provide care services. Some of the reasons for this include low job satisfaction, a history of violence, mental illness, and perceiving older people’s actions as childish (Yon et al., 2019). However, these do not justify the abuse perpetrated by the caregivers in any way. They must address these issues, and they should not project their frustrations to the elder individuals to whom they are trusted to offer care. Apart from family members and professional caregivers, strangers are also known to abuse older people. This is because older people are unlikely to defend themselves. Moreover, some strangers in the streets often intimidate older individuals and make fun of them.
Elder abuse manifests itself in various ways depending on the type of exploitation. Physical abuse can be detected by looking out for cuts, bruises, or grip marks around the arms and neck. Unexplained injuries where the older individual lies about it and refusing to receive professional medical attention are also physical abuse and intimidation indicators. Psychological abuse manifests itself as stress, self-isolation where the older individual avoids social contact and unresponsiveness. Furthermore, signs of depression such as stress, loss of appetite, an uncharacteristic demeanor may be due to emotional abuse. Signs of sexual abuse entail sexually transmitted infections, unexplained bleeding through the vagina, and torn undergarments. Financial abuse can be identified through unexplained transactions, excess spending, individual equity being less than expected, and forged signatures. Neglect can be detected by poor hygiene and loss of weight.
Elder abuse should be stopped because it is derogatory and unfair, and preventive measures to discourage the vice should be adopted. Some of the implemented measures include efficient prosecution systems for elderly abusers perpetrating this heinous crime since they would potentially be imprisoned. Creating awareness about elder abuse and condemning it through the various media would make many people look out for elder abuse which would discourage the abusers. Increasing adult daycare programs would ensure that older individuals are offered care by trained personnel who understand them, reducing the chances of them abused (Yon et al., 2017). Engaging elders in the community by organizing forums where they interact and do an activity together would allow caregivers to interact and learn new things.
The resources for elder abuse constitute the factors that influence the prevalence of elder abuse. These factors exist at an individual and community level, and their presence increases the frequency of the vice. Individual risk factors for perpetrating elder abuse include a history of alcohol and drug abuse, high levels of aggressiveness and hostility, inadequate training or preparation to offer care, and trauma. People who are more likely to be abusers should not be primary caregivers (Yon et al., 2019). At the community level, limited adult care institutions and professional caregivers indirectly contributed to a surge in elder abuse prevalence.
Yon, Y., Mikton, C. R., Gassoumis, Z. D., & Wilber, K. H. (2017). Elder abuse prevalence in community settings: A systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Global Health, 5(2), e147-e156. Web.
Yon, Y., Ramiro-Gonzalez, M., Mikton, C. R., Huber, M., & Sethi, D. (2019). The prevalence of elder abuse in institutional settings: A systematic review and meta-analysis. European Journal of Public Health, 29(1), 58-67. Web.