Gary, a widower of 75 years, had lived alone for 25 years.
It appeared he had signs of dementia, his daughter Jessica (33) suggested that he come to live with her. Maybe it was the sincere belief that he needed help, but as they admitted later, they saw an opportunity to improve their standard of living. Jessica urged her father to give her a bank authorization, and that the situation was quickly exploited. In the following weeks, she took with his credit card each day $400 from his checking account – the maximum amount possible – and soon brought the account balance to 0. She bought jewelry, designer fashion and entertainment, which they justify to themselves because they would inherit the money anyway. Dad also had been in recent years very stressful, and therefore “it was thier money.”
Even Garys pension of $2500 per month. Jessica used a portion of it for food, medical bills and medicine for her father, but for most of their own living – including the monthly payments for a new sports car. Jessica knew that they were their wishes prevail over the needs of her father, but she also knew that they could do so freely. She had the authority, and they could do with his money, what they wanted, as long as nobody found out. She made sure that the few relatives who called occasionally to ask for her father, could not talk to him and that he was not getting their messages. The only “outsiders” with which Gary never talked to his doctor had occasional check-ups, but Jessica had convinced him that no one would believe a senile old man, he would be mistreated. In the months that followed Gary’s dementia became worse, and he also became incontinent. Jessica found it increasingly difficult to care for her father – or even just to endure. He seemed to constantly have to go to the bathroom, and when he is not fast enough Jessica tortured him with a barrage of insults.
It got to the point that Gary could not leave them alone, not even a few minutes as it was enough to leave the house alone or to carry out the gas stove and accidentally set a fire. Jessica knew that he should be brought for assisted living in a nursing home or home where he would be cared for professionally around the clock, but she was now dependent on her father’s pension. Rather than pay for the care that her father needed Jessica came up with a solution of their own macabre. She bound her father to the toilet and let him sit there for several days until buttocks were sore and he was so dehydrated and sick that he almost died. Finally, Jessica still recognized that she had no choice, but to take her father to the hospital.
The social worker who reported on this horrific event changed the names, but the story of Gary and Jessica is very real, and it is just one example of a disturbing reality in today’s society – a growing problem that every day in almost every society on Earth occurs. Elderly abuse is no longer a marginal problem. Not in the private and not in the public sector, as some time ago a startling report of a journalist has been shown, which was set as a nurse with a hidden camera shocking conditions in various nursing homes documented.
THE EXTENT OF THE PROBLEM
The most widely accepted definition of elder abuse, which is mentioned in the so-called “Toronto Declaration” (2002), to which the World Health Organization have (WHO) and the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) agreed, is as follows: “The abuse of older people is a single or repeated act or omission of an appropriate action that can occur in any relationship where expected Trust is an older person is injured or disappointed. Such abuse takes many forms: It can be physical, psychological / emotional, sexual, financial or simply represent an intentional or unintentional neglect.
“Very often the victim of one form of abuse is also the victim of another form of abuse,” says Laura Mosqueda, director of the Elder Abuse Forensic Center in Orange County (California) and Professor of Family Medicine at the University of California at Irvine. they can “be a victim of financial abuse with verbal threats, forced to give up their house or override their pension, or threatened, they will be beaten or locked in their room, if they do not cooperate.” In Gary’s case it was not only financial abuse, but also neglect and verbal violence.
No one knows exactly how many elderly people are abused – often old and in need of care people out of fear preserve of repression silence about their situation – but the working group of the U.S. National Research Council, which examined the incidence and risk of abuse and neglect of older people, estimates in a 2009 report that a 67% or 3 million Americans, according to the Life of someone in whose care or protection they needed violated, exploited, neglected or abused in any way or abused.
In The Lancet in October 2009, the gerontologists tell Mark Salmon and Karl Pillemer of Cornell University in the U.S. estimated that 2-10% of seniors have experienced some form of domestic abuse. Their estimate is based on an analysis of case studies and sample surveys.
Figures for the United States should comply with the rest of the world. According to the “World Report on Violence and Health” the World Health Organization from 2004 world 4-7% of seniors are abused 65 and over. These notes Elizabeth Podnieks, vice president of the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and professor at Ryerson University in Toronto: “If a country’s population is younger – such as in much of sub-Saharan Africa, where life expectancy is not as high is – there are of course not so many cases of violence against the elderly, because there are not so many old people. But among the ancients, who live there, the percentage of victims of violence about the same as in the rest of the world. “
She continues: “. Even in many Asian countries, where old people are respected traditionally high, are now many cases of elderly abuse reported” They suspected that the respect has diminished in front of the old Asia, so it is frowned upon socially less old treating people badly – a sad development.
It says a lot about the moral state of society, how it treats those who “put very little” judged superficial and shortsighted. Actually, it should not surprise us, however, that in a world in which especially income and production growth rates are important, which interfere with supposedly “unproductive” increasingly. Honor and respect for old people to people apparently just do not fit into a world where the old man is widely disparaged for “cost factor” that with increasing age, yet it requires more and more “time”. There is no doubt sad development. A society, the old, vulnerable people are increasingly seen as a troublesome appendage, revealed an appalling poverty of spiritual maturity and an inadequate and superficial value system – what young people are easily overlooked: they too will grow old and perhaps be in need of help.
HIDDEN AND CONCEALED
The truth is, no doubt, that the problem of elderly abuse is not only new – in the past it was often hidden from public view and mostly regarded as a private matter or a family secret. Mrs. Podnieks that “more people talk about old and ill admit that they exist. It is studied and recognized. Does it always has, but until 20 or 30 years you did not look back. Today we look back, and we find a lot of cases. Nevertheless, the problem still says too little. ” Many experts agree that the reported cases represent only the tip of the iceberg. Funded by the U.S. Administration on Aging National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that only one in six cases of domestic violence against the elderly is known to the authorities. In 2005, for example in the U.S., 564.747 cases reported to adult protective agencies of the federal states, while likely to have the actual number of elderly victims of violence in the opinion of many experts in that year probably located closer to 2 million.
Very often, the perpetrators are family members, and therefore, most cases go unreported. An operation funded by the Administration on Aging nationwide study on the incidence of elderly abuse in the United States in 1999 concludes: “In nearly 91% of cases of abuse and neglect of older people, in which the offender is known, it is a loved one, and two thirds of the perpetrators are adult children or spouses. ” “The victims of the abuse often do not report because they are ashamed of what they did to the members, or simply because they are embarrassed that they could pass such a big mistake to trust them and to be exploited” says Mrs. Mosqueda.
Some victims just do not want their children to break the law in conflict. “The idea that their son or daughter is sent to prison can be worse than to endure the abuse,” suggested Sharon Brangman, professor of medicine and director of the Geriatric Department at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse (New York).
Deana Johnson, Regional Advisor to the Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and CEO of the Council on Aging, Windsor (Ontario), adds: “. Try many of the victims, protect their adult children at any cost” This also means that it excuses invent for their children’s behavior and even give himself the blame for what their children have done to them. She explains: “A mother may wonder: What have I done that my child treats me so? I must have been a bad mother. So she thinks that she has somehow done something for which she deserves the abuse because she as a mother, the child has formed. “Even in the case of physical violence, sometimes old people try to downplay the situation by saying, for example:” No, no, was determined he / she does not strike as hard. ” Other victims prefer to remain silent simply because they feel dependent on their physical care of the perpetrators. “Knows the victim, that it is being abused, but it also knows that the culprit is the same one who provides it,” says Ms. Johnson, “It boils down to if my child does not care for me, I end up in a nursing home. For this generation, the home of ‘the detention facility where you are going to die. Today, many nursing homes [or Nursing homes] are really comfortable and have lots of activities and beautiful surroundings [Note the editors: if you can] afford. But that’s not the kind of nursing home, imagine the old man. You still think everything is better than to come home to. ‘” The fear of “the home” refers primarily to the loss of dignity and self-determination, one hopes that the care provided by family members more understanding and attention.
A GROWING PROBLEM
It may be true that elder abuse is reported today more than ever, but many experts are convinced that increasing the actual number of cases in the coming years as the population ages in many countries and is increasing the number of old people. “Provided there is no war, the age structure in America up to 2050 will change dramatically. The number of young shoots continuously from 17.5 to below 9 million. The number tripled over 81 years is … The ratio of elderly people aged over 81 (the number of people aged over 80 to 100 people aged 40 to 60) increases from 12.6 to 55.0, that is, quadrupled -is fueled … The ratio of the elderly over 90-year-olds (compared to the 50 – to under 70 year olds) are 5 times “(Frank Schirrmacher, The Methuselah Conspiracy , pp. 42 and 43). The trend in many parts of the world is similar. China sees itself in 2050 with 334 million people over 65 years and nearly 100 million faced over 80 years (United Nations Population Division, 1999).
“With further increasing population of elderly and rising costs of health and senior housing are more people who care to take those they have raised,” predicts Carmel Bitondo Dyer, associate professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and co-director of the Texas Elder Abuse and Mistreatment Institute. “With few alternatives and no training in dealing with their new responsibilities as caregivers much their charges will inflict pain.” The problem is exacerbated by a one-sided focus on the physical performance capacity of the young generation. If people have problems from 50, to be seen as a valuable man, and through their professional experience and stability as an asset for a company, how does one then assess in such a society the elderly?
When life’s work, experience, wisdom in a society no longer “honorable” are, then paved the way not to scorn and abuse? “When the older population is not as valuable, necessary and worthy looks, then the next step is that you show them disrespect,” says Lee Stone, gerontologist in Thunder Bay (Ontario), and Regional Advisor for the Ontario Strategy to Combat Elder Abuse . “Then they can become a real scenario, mental abuse or escalate even worse.”
WHAT TO DO?
A comedian once put it humorously: “The only way to prevent getting old, is to die young!” That’s probably true, but only a humorous alternative. What can we do as a society to address the problem of elderly abuse? The first step is awareness. “We must reach the point that everyone knows what is elder abuse and that it exists,” said Mrs. Podnieks. “The more we talk about it, the more real it becomes, the more people are shocked, and the more we get involved then as a society, to do something about it.” Caregivers need training. Many take their responsibility seriously and do a remarkable job at that may seem impossible and ungrateful, but others could be easily overwhelmed. “We must ensure that the personal care have access to resources in the public who can help them so they are not stressed in their work,” says Ms. Johnson. Many towns and cities have facilities to support carers, training programs, etc. that will help them in their functions. Self-help groups often provide valuable support.
The seniors themselves need to learn. They should know what support services are available in their environment, to possibly get help. Many cities such as contact points, which do in cases of suspected elder abuse investigations and assist seniors in situations of violence and provide practical help. The training on elderly care and care actually starts already in childhood. How the elders in the family and kinship are seen and treated? One cares about them and how and with what happens the conviction? Looking at it as a pesky “work” or valuable part of the community (income)? This is an important part of parenting and the rational basis for later dignified treatment of the old members!
Elderly abuse is essentially a problem of fundamental convictions. During the formation of character of a person who abused others, something went wrong.
The solution of the problem is part of a fundamental world view. As you can see his fellow man and especially those who need help? People without a world view that goes beyond satisfying their own needs, have shortcomings here and are therefore part of the problem.
The Christian commandment “Love thy neighbor as thyself” is indeed everywhere and proclaimed as a Christian principle seen, but gulf between theory and practice here terrifying precipices. As the Danish philosopher of the 19th Century, Soren Kierkegaard, aptly put it: “The Christianity of the New Testament simply does not exist.”
Derived from the commandment to love simple and highly effective “golden rule” that Jesus Christ has brought home to his successors is, unfortunately, in our time been largely in the background: “Treat people the way you want them to treat you – that’s what says the law and the prophets “(Matthew 7, 12, Good News Bible).
You should certainly try to convey to children that age is not a bad time, adds Ms. Stone. “Aging is a fascinating time, and people should be at any age and is highly respected,” she says. “If the younger generation, the older generation really understands and respects, it is much more likely to keep the elderly in honor, and much less likely that they are abused.” Ultimately the solution lies not in acknowledging the problem and instructed the people in geriatric care, so that’s helpful. Knowledge of the problem can not remedy the problem, if people do not think about their values. Is the fulfillment of one’s own desires, the only thing that matters in life? Is to take care of the needs and rights of others (especially family members) or even loss of time-wastage? Is unselfish concern for the welfare of fellow human beings a useless value? Are only youth, beauty, power and dynamic range, and include some of whom wisdom and serenity of age are fundamentally superior experience?
It is important to determine the current values of the society on the scale test, if you want to reverse the trend of disregard for the aged and the elderly. To stop the violence against the elderly to an end, it will be necessary to decide that people everywhere examine their thoughts and actions and to feel morally and personally responsible for the generation that has paved the way for them. Certainly abuse cases as in the above-mentioned Gary would not then occur. Gary was eventually taken to the intensive care unit of a nearby hospital, where local authorities intervened and literally saved his life because he was deprived by his daughter.
Everyone should pay attention to people like Gary. “We should be one another’s keeper,” “Violence against the elderly is not a private matter. In practice this means that if you have not seen your old neighbor more, do not be afraid to ring her bell, just to see how she’s doing. Let them know that you are there for them and that they will not be indifferent. Be willing to participate. Finally, it could be any of us in a few years.”