This New Dawn

“The sad fact is most abusers are family members.”

Elder abuse is an ‘out of sight’ problem and tends to be committed mostly by family members in the privacy of the elder person’s home. As with most victims of abuse, whether child, adult, or elder, the victim may not realize he or she is being abused. Abuse is not a word in their vocabulary. All they know is that someone doesn’t like them and is treating them badly and they feel trapped. Elderly victims may think this is how it is when you get old and it is entirely their fault. They have done something to cause anger on the part of the abuser. The victim is afraid others won’t believe him if he reports what is going on and how he or she is being treated, or is afraid he will be institutionalized. The perpetrator may be the only human interaction the elder has and if he reports on the treatment he is receiving, the offender may retaliate in the future. If the elder is in ill health or has cognitive decline, he/she may be unable to report any kind of maltreatment.”

“Older people with memory problems, physical disabilities, depression, loneliness, and substance abuse, including alcohol, are much more susceptible to abuse than others. Sometimes the elderly person is combative with the caregiver and the caregiver feels overwhelmed or offended. Also, if the caregiver is dependent on the older person for housing, finances or other needs, is otherwise unemployed, or perhaps with mental health problems or a criminal history, the chances for elder abuse increase greatly.”

“Health officials, in particular doctors, are able to play an important role by reporting elder abuse, but few physicians tend to contact authorities with regards to situations with which they are familiar. There are several reasons for this. Among them are lack of knowledge of state laws, concern with angering the offender, damaging the rapport they have established with the patient, as well as potential appearances in court, lack of collaboration from the victim/patient and/or his family, and lack of time.”

“Those employed in the legal system including police, attorneys, and judges need to be instructed on elder abuse. Legislation to protect elderly victims will help to minimize such abuse and provide help to the injured party. Involvement by the community, creating programs designed to help seniors and meet their needs is essential. These programs would include monetary aid, tax assistance, and help from public and private professionals who would be willing to volunteer their time to help the elderly. I might add elder abuse does not just happen here in the United States. It is a global issue and needs to be addressed.”

The Sunset Years   -  $9.95

Authored by Laurel Hall

"The Sunset Years" is the story of a group of medical and legal professionals who gather weekly in a continuing education class to study the problems that face today's elderly. Using an upbeat, positive approach to the questions that always pop up when "old age" is the topic of conversation, the book discusses many issues on aging, from Alzheimer's disease to elder abuse, and more. The reader is lifted above the noise to a vantage point where he can see from wherever he stands in life, the problems associated with growing old.

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