Elder abuse is a subject that many of us struggle to discuss comfortably. It’s a deep-rooted, widespread issue that affects 1 in 6 seniors. At Qualicare Waterloo, patient comfort, wellness and satisfaction mean everything to us. We stand by our elder patients and their families, and our goal is to raise awareness of how everyone deserves fair treatment and appropriate care.
With World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15th, now is a good time to educate yourself on the different forms of abuse seniors in modern society can still face.
Abusing a senior for financial gains is, sadly, incredibly common even today. Whether telephone scams, manipulated wills and estates or otherwise, older citizens often are steered to fulfil the financial demands of family members or even private companies. We see this commonly with phone companies selling them services they don’t need as well as with forgeries, pressuring a loved one to sell their home, and more. Misusing the position of Power of Attorney or Executor of a will for personal gains are other common forms of financial abuse.
Elders deserve our respect and fair treatment, and unfortunately, not all experience that. Psychological abuse is commonly prevalent in families with a history of mental health issues or strained relationships. Emotions run high, and there is a tendency to treat the senior members of the family as children, verbally abuse or shun them, and even not respecting their wishes. Threats and punishment often include separating the elder from society, restricting access to hobbies or visits with others, and even removing their decision-making powers.
Physical / Sexual Abuse
Some seniors suffer in heart-breaking ways, including physical and/or sexual abuse. Bruising, abrasions, and the wounds that can’t be seen form a serious threat to their mental well-being and physical safety. Often, seniors are scared to speak up due to being threatened further if they do, and wrongdoers may attempt to stifle their chances at breaking free with medication and even confinement.
Denying the right to essential or required care, withholding medication or even outright abandonment are all related to sheer neglect – a lack of empathy or willingness to help the elder in necessary ways to ensure their wellness. There are intentional and unintentional forms of neglect, but the outcome is always the same unless if stopped: A senior repressed, left to fend for themselves and struggling to stay in good health.
These forms of elder abuse are difficult to hear about, but it’s important that we recognize them and address them together. The more we open up and accept that these are serious risks even today to our loved ones, the more progress we can make in protecting them.
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