Getting old, retiring, and finally getting the chance to live your live without the struggles of working should be a time of peace, happiness, relaxation, contentment, and reflection. For many elderly people it is not (The Lancet, 2011). It was reported that the prevalence of elder abuse in communities is 14% or higher in the United States of America (The Lancet, 2011). It was stated that for every abuse that gets to make it to an official reporting system 23-24 go without notice (The Lancet, 2011). Could this be solved with a new UN Declaration on the Rights of older people.
The definition of elder abuse is: “A single act or repeated act or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.” (Newton, 2010). Elderly folks are being targeted because they are venerable. Many older people depend on others for daily living because of illnesses or health issues. Most elderly people need assistance to function daily. People entrusted to care for the elderly are family members, carers, and professional care givers (The Lancet, 2011).
Unfortunately, these entrusted with the responsibility to protect and care for the elderly end up abusing them and horribly betray their position. They betray the position by abusing their authority and abusing the person either physically, mentally, verbally, sexual or financial (The Lancet, 2011). This abuse has been highly ignored in the past why? well because many people believed elderly abuse only occured a small amount of times and in certain circumstances (Newton, 2010). Many carers and healthcare professionals have turned their backs on the elderly by ignoring clear signs of abuse (“turning a blind eye”) (Newton, 2010). In turn the abuse would not get documented which started the development of a new culture which led people into believing that this kind of behavior was acceptable and or even normal behavior (Newton, 2010).
Toronto Declaration on Global Prevention of Elder Abuse was brought up at a meeting with WHO which ended becoming a declaration adopted by many countries worldwide (Newton, 2010). This kind of abuse takes place in many different settings for example it could take place in hospitals, nursing homes, the persons home, a residential care home, and even a day centres (Newton, 2010). The scariest thing is that sometimes the person most trusted to have their welfare at heart is the abuser, this person is usually someone that they trust most such as family members or relatives (Newton, 2010). Other abusers are professionals include healthcare professionals, social workers, neighbors, and friends (Newton, 2010).
It is difficult to determine if the abuser is intentionally abusing the victim or if it is going unrecognized meaning the abuse is being done but the abuser is not aware of what they are doing (Newton, 2010). Benefiting from their position such as taking any type of payment for the services they are already being paid to perform or any services at all from the person they are caring for and seeing no wrong in doing so (Newton, 2010).
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