Preventing the possibility of elder abuse
One of the United Nations awareness campaigns which is perhaps the least talked about but which is the most important is that on awareness of elder abuse. The United Nations has designated June 15 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). WHO defines elder abuse as “a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring in any relationship where there is an expectation of trust that causes harm or distress to an older person.”
The elderly are the fastest growing demographic group in the world and by 2050, one in five Indians is expected to be over the age of 60. Over the past few years, HelpAge India has been conducting surveys to understand the growing crime of elder abuse. against the ancients of India. In 2014, half of Indian elders surveyed (50%) said they had experienced abuse and 77% of them lived with their family.
Many people talk about the abuse of children and women, but unfortunately there are far fewer active voices advocating for the rights of elders. One of the main reasons may be that this type of abuse can be difficult to spot because it is often committed by family members or caregivers on adults who may have impaired cognitive or mobility issues allowing them access to a large community. However, elder care laws and penalties for elder abuse are of the utmost importance to ensure the protection of our elders.
Every day citizens must step in to recognize the signs and speak for someone who may not be able to speak for themselves.
How to recognize elder abuse
Elder abuse comes in various intentional and unintentional forms related to neglect and systematic mistreatment or abuse of financial, physical, emotional and sexual care.
The National Center on Elder Abuse cites the three most significant forms of elder abuse: physical, financial, and emotional. Many cases of elder abuse take place in their homes, where older people are supposed to feel safe and protected, but their abuse often goes unreported and the abusers go unpunished.
Elder abuse, whether by a resident of an aged care home or by an older person living with family, is often first noticed by a change in mental attitudes and behaviors , physical or financial of the person.
There is no specific way to recognize elder abuse, but some signs may include:
- Weight loss or malnutrition
- poor hygiene
- Reluctance to speak freely or make up irrational stories
- Anxiety, depression, fear or confusion
- Injuries such as bruises, cuts, burns or broken bones
- Unexplained loss of money, excessive gifts or inability to access finances
- Withdrawal from friends and family members
- Bedsores or ulcers
- Missing medical aids such as walkers, dentures, glasses or hearing aids
- Missing drug
- Unsanitary or unsafe living conditions
Although elder abuse can affect any older person, certain factors put some older adults at greater risk than others. According to research from Northwestern University and the WHO, those most at risk are usually over the age of 80 and are women. Those who are isolated, in poor health, or cared for by a live-in caregiver who is financially dependent on them may also be at greater risk of abuse.
How to prevent elder abuse?
Education is key to preventing elder abuse. Seniors, family, friends, professionals, caregivers and the public need to know the signs and know what to do. Additionally, people can take active steps to help themselves prevent elder abuse.
The healthier older people are from mental and physical exercise, the less likely they are to be unable to defend themselves. Next, it’s essential to plan your aging process which includes things like a living will or power of attorney to someone you trust to oversee health care decisions, so family members don’t don’t argue at the end. It’s also important to seek help when you need it, whether it’s a therapist for depression or legal advice on wills. Next, seniors should continue to stay active in the community and in contact with a variety of people so that they have a support system that they can always access.
Never ignore the signs of elder abuse, if you think you see it, speak up!
Your parents, grandparents and other aging relatives do not deserve to suffer. If you think your loved one is in danger, report it to one of the helplines set up to help deal with elder abuse, such as the National Helpline for the Elderly, the toll-free number from the Government of India (14567) or the national helpline HelpAge India (18001801253) or the police. Number (100).
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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