Stop Elder Abuse

September 27, 2007 at 9:50 pm (Blogging against abuse)

Due to my recent constant care of my grandfather, I have spent many days, hours, weeks, in nursing homes, hospitals, in the company of aides, doctors, and nurses. Many thoughts have come to mind. As a young, strong, aware individual, you often have the independence, awareness and physical strength to avoid, fight or just be aware when you being mistreated. Even if you choose not to fight back, you could. One of the most deplorable features of abuse is that cowardly individuals who inherently feel inadequate, gain power and strength from lording over easy targets (i.e., children, subordinates, elderly, animals). In the case of the elderly, those who have either been abused, or for whatever reason, have evil within and a need to belittle those in need, choose to verbally or physically maltreat someone of advanced age.

If you step into a nursing home, you will see elderly men and women of all levels of health. There are individuals of fine physical shape, with failing mental facilities and those with a sharp mind and a failing physique. Some have neither their mind or bodies intact. I witnessed many kind, warm souls working in these environs, who clearly had their heart in their job. And I have also seen those who were less gentle. I am also aware that abuse is often done behind closed doors. Fortunately, my grandfather often was aware and reported when he was treated well and less so. In one particular incident on a hospital ward, he described a young female aide who was particularly rough with him, and even told him to “shut up” loudly. We were horrified, and sought to find out who this was, in order to prevent further actions like this towards my grandfather and others.
So, what I’d like to state is that it is everyone’s role to care for those without a voice. Not only because you may one day be weakened and vulnerable and may be at risk, but because you are not weak. You can see, hear and walk and talk and because of this, it is your role to speak up. Words and actions do immense good. Perhaps you aren’t organizing a march on the nation’s capital, but you make a anonymous phone call to the head of the hospital, reporting bad behavior. Or you witness an elderly man struggling with a door. Go and help. You will be glad you did and you will have added a bit of joy to their day. And if you see abuse of any kind towards an elderly person, stand up and fight back. Often the aggression and cruelty is a scary exterior hiding a weak coward inside. And, if you have grandparents in a nursing facility, take care to protect them and care for them. There is no other choice.

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8 Comments

  1. Pam Hoffman said,

    This is an excellent treatment of the topic – abuse is ALWAYS a cowardly act.

    Elder abuse is no different than battered women, child abuse, etc. The victim is just an older person – the type of person we will all become if we live so long.

    I get on my boyfriend’s case every time he ‘talks smak’ about an older person driving poorly. I’m like ‘hey, you’re gonna be that old some day’ and I’m hoping it will sink in…

    I think if we try to humanize the situation and think ‘if this were my mom, how would I act?’ and make it a point to be that way. It is de-humanization that generally gets us into trouble with this sort of thing.

    I don’t see a lot of this kind of thing personally.

    I do see women with black eyes – the kind you get from a ‘sucker punch’ and if at all possible, I make it a point to try to help her.

    I went thru some hard times with a past boyfriend in the 80s and I escaped. I know how to help those who are still trapped in that situation.

    The first thing – empathize. You NEVER want to tell someone ‘why are you staying with him? what’s wrong with you?’ She is already suffering from low self-esteem and ‘knows’ she is ‘no good.’

    I like to call it like it is. If someone is abusive – they are a criminal! Tell the victim so.

    Offer support in any you are able. I’ve seen two women escape their abusers and I like to think that I had a little something to do with it because I told them my story.

    I related my story to them and told them ‘that isn’t a little poke, he’s a criminal and this is abuse.’ and it seemed to have helped.

    If we all look out for each other on this world, things like this can end up being just a bad memory. October is Battered Women Awareness Month.

    Good to have your post at this time Missladybug!

    Pam Hoffman
    http://seminarlist.blogspot.com

  2. floydcraig said,

    I once had to “spring” my GreatGramma from a “nursing home”! Thier Doctor would not release her, so I brought in my own Doctor in and transfered her to humane,decent care. It’s a horrible problem in Florida which is also known as Gods Waiting Room or How to steal everything the Elderly Own! Floyd
    PS Thanks for the Fantastic Article!

  3. floydcraig said,

    I have placed the “Stop elder Abuse” button on my sidebar in (Floyds Secrets of the Earth). I linked it to this article on your site.

  4. Serena said,

    Great post! I am saddened to see the elderly at risk not only in nursing homes but also those who live alone. It seems certain youth of today see the elderly as an easy target and, sadly, we hear on the news far too often about home invasions and bag snatching at shopping malls. The majority of victims appear to be the elderly and they are often beaten in the process of the crime. What ever happened to ‘respect our elders’??? They’ve had a lot more life experience than we have and they certainly shouldn’t have to live their final years in fear.

  5. Google Blogger said,

    thanks for the comment and the subscribtion…

  6. Stealth said,

    I’m with you, Cheech! As a hospice volunteer, I get sent into many nursing homes and have seen the horrors that happen in “nice” facilities. One thing that has always stood out to me is that the seniors that have a family member visit frequently bet much better care than the ones who have no advocate.

    Thanks for blogging about this important issue.

  7. ChrissyJo said,

    I have heard many horror stories on this topic. Luckily my grandparents aren’t to that point yet but it is scary. I wish they would get a little more respect than they do. Great post – you should always speak up for those who can’t for themselves. You seem like a great person!

  8. Sleeping Beauty said,

    This scares me. I am so sorry your grandfather was treated this way. This is a good post, it will help those speak up about the situation because it does go on everyday.

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