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Domestic Violence And Elder Abuse

Oct 19, 2007
Domestic Violence and Elder Abuse - It's Unforgivable

It really may not be as unusual as it appears. It is a form of domestic abuse which is often not given the attention it deserves. Old age somehow seems to rob people of their rights to complain along with most of their other faculties. Somehow elders are seen as less than human with their weakened perceptions and altered appearances. Just because they have lost their powers of sight or articulation or mind, it really can't be taken to mean that they don't hurt or feel emotions. Thousands of essays on domestic violence issues are written everyday, but rarely does one come across one analyzing elder abuse, which also takes place in domestic circles.

The causes of domestic violence directed at elders are many--the first and foremost among this would be that it is merely payback time for all the abuse the children had to put up with when they were young. When a father unleashes violence on his family, the last thing to occur to him would be that one day he is going to be old and feeble, while the weeping toddler is going to be a hulking six-footer with a long memory. This would be a major cause of domestic violence from children to their parents.

Now not all parents are abusive. It is a tragic fact that even loving, caring parents wind up abused if they have the temerity to live long. Care-giving children may actually experience a burn-out. Taking care of a senile elder is no picnic. The so-called second childhood may actually turn out to be just that. Diet-restrictions, toilet training, walks, entertainment, and medication for the elder may have to be worked into your routine, as if that wasn't complicated enough. While you may send your toddler to go sit in the corner, or the older one to just go upstairs without dessert, you simply can't do that to grandpa. So caring for elders can take a huge physical as well as psychological toll out of you.

And then one day the last straw lands on your over laden back and you may go berserk. Yes you do have your reasons, but it is still not right. What you may need to do is not let it go this far. Seek help before you snap. Get someone to take over for a change. If you are an only child, there might be Good Samaritan relatives or friends who may be just looking to do their good deed for the day. You could also try volunteer agencies, or check out a good institution.

A different situation would be when the care-giver is actually culpable. We are familiar with the terms bad-parenting skills, but we just don't have a term to describe children who are simply not equipped to give quality care to their old parents. While some folks have the ability, the understanding and the capability to care for old people with a smiling face, there are others who seem at a loss, and are actually uneasy around elders and their peculiar mannerisms. When this second group of people is responsible to care for their elders, things can get chaotic.

So where do you get off abusing an elder??? Scot-free, usually. However, sometimes other family, friends, or care givers witness such acts and contact the authorities or social services.

Elders and their complaints are normally treated as some sort of joke. Grandpa Simpson can vouch for that. National domestic violence figures hardly account for the rising numbers of elder abuse, simply because they are not in any position to complain. The care-giver-turned-abuser becomes a figure of intimidation and coercion. This either shuts them up, or results in mumbles and barely understood ramblings which are hastily put down to approaching senility. The national domestic violence hotline is least used by abused elders.

In the case of elder abuse, the psychological variety is more rampant than the physical, but cases where the care-giver actually lays hands on an elder, are not as rare as is supposed. In such situations, the entire control is in the hands of the abuser. While an abused youngster can spend the night out on the streets or with a friend, and a woman might be able to leave, an elder has no such options.

The elderly are literally at the mercy of their care-giver, and this makes elder abuse the most heinous and dastardly of all. How would you feel if you were helpless, lying there, and a family member or care giver was taunting you, not cleaning or washing you, not feeding you, yelling at you and making you feel worthless so you wanted to die, or "forgetting" to give you your medication? If you couldn't even get up, what would you do if someone did this to you? Or worse, what if they laid their hands on you and hit you? It is well worth remembering that your day will soon come, too.
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