PSYCHOLOGY

Understanding Causes Of Elder Abuse Can Surely Help Us Prevent It

Date November 2, 2018 19:30

Aging is a natural process, but for many different reasons, it is a scary one for most people. Partially it is so due to the fear of death. Another reason is the fear of becoming weak and not capable of taking care of themselves because then, you are fully dependent on other people. And it is great when people you depend on provide you with the necessary living conditions, fulfill your needs and support you throughout the whole journey. Unfortunately, the statistics show it is not always the case. Elder abuse is a huge problem, and to be able to fight against it, we need to know its causes and reasons behind.

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READ ALSO: It Should Never Happen To Anyone. Elder Abuse Isn't A Myth - It's A Terrifying Reality

Causes of elder abuse

Elder abuse can happen anywhere and by anyone, but most of the reported cases are committed by the victims’ family members and nursing staff. To be fair, elder abuse is not always voluntary and conscious. Sometimes, people do not even realize they might hurt someone, for example, by simply failing to provide the proper care. So what are the causes of elder abuse and neglect?

  1. Behavioral issues. Some abusers are simply used to solve issues with violence. In some other cases, abusers might be too overburdened, which manifests in violence against their weak older adults, neglect, or even financial abuse.
  2. Control and domination issues. Some caregivers are too eager for power over the older adults, which is why they might try to gain control in relationships and force older adults to do things they don’t want to do.
  3. Bad relationships. Sometimes, older children and their parents don’t have healthy relationships, which often results in all sorts of elder abuse: from physical abuse to financial exploitation.
  4. Nursing homes. Two most common causes of elder abuse in nursing homes are a lack of quality caregivers and understaffing.

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Risk factors that contribute to elder abuse

It is understandable that after a certain point in your life the older you become, the harder it becomes for you to take care of yourself. That is why the term “vulnerable adult” exists. It basically means that any adult older than 60 or that has some certain health issues are at risk of being abused. What are the other factors that may contribute to abuse in vulnerable adults?

  1. Social network. Older adults tend to be less and less socially integrated with each year, which results not only in decline in cognitive abilities, but also in the fact that such people become even more vulnerable to all sorts of scams out there.
  2. Living arrangement. Another potential risk of being mistreated is sharing home with other family members (other than the spouse). Living alone is considered to be the best protective measure against abuse.
  3. Mental illnesses. Dementia is the leading risk factor for elder abuse, especially in nursing homes. The abuser realizes that the victim would not be able to report the mistreatment, which makes them an easy target.
  4. A personal relationship with the caregiver. One of the most crucial risk factors for elder abuse is a personal relationship between the caregiver and the vulnerable adult.

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READ ALSO: We Have To Know The Types Of Elder Abuse To Be Able To Protect Our Older Adults

How to prevent elder abuse?

If you agree with the statement that no one should tolerate elder abuse, you help to prevent it. There are many different ways of doing it, but the very first one is to learn more about the nature of elder mistreatment and neglect. The strategies to prevent elder abuse may include the following:

  1. Keep older adults socially active for as long as possible. It has been proven by multiple studies that social integration helps a lot in maintaining good health.
  2. Stay in touch with your older adults. The best company they can have is the company of close relatives and friends. Be there for them.
  3. Keep older adults well aware and informed about their finances.
  4. Don’t let any older adult live with someone who is known to be abusive.
  5. Keep older adults physically active. Not need to explain how daily exercises combined with a healthy diet can not only maintain, but also improve one’s health.

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There are many more things you can do to prevent elder abuse, including taking caregiver training on dementia, taking part in public awareness campaigns, counseling with a psychologist, and of course, reporting any suspected elder abuse. If you believe that the victim is in imminent danger, you should call 9-1-1 as soon as possible. Otherwise, you can call the NSW Elder Abuse Helpline & Resource Unit at 1-800-628-221 or contact your local Adult Protective Services. So many cases of elder abuse remain unreported, thus promoting the issue. Let’s change it!

READ ALSO: No One Should Tolerate Elder Abuse! Learn How To Report It And Help Yourself Or Your Loved One Now

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