Archive for the ‘Ageism’ Category

Aging America: Elder Abuse, Use of Shelters Rising

February 5, 2013

She raises her hands to her snow-white hair in a gesture of frustrated bewilderment, then slowly lowers them to cover eyes filling with tears. The woman, in her 70s, is trying to explain how she wound up in a shelter that could well be where she spends the rest of her life.

While the woman was living with a close family member, officials at the Shalom Center say, her money was being drained away by people overcharging for her grocery shopping, while her body and spirit were sapped by physical neglect and emotional torment. She says she was usually ordered to “go to bed,” where she lay in a dark room, upset, unable to sleep.

“She just yelled at me all the time. Screamed at me, cussed me out,” the woman says of a family member. “I don’t know what happened. She just got tired of me, I guess.”

The Shalom Center offers shelter, along with medical, psychological and legal help, to elderly abuse victims in this northern Cincinnati suburb. It is among a handful in the country that provide sanctuary from such treatment, a problem experts say is growing along with the age of the nation’s population.

The number of Americans 65 and over is projected to nearly double by 2030 because of the 74 million baby boomers born in 1946-64, and the number of people 85 and over is increasing at an even faster rate. The number of seniors being abused, exploited or neglected every year is often estimated at about 2 million, judging by available statistics and surveys, but experts say the number could be much higher. Some research indicates that 1 in 10 seniors have suffered some form of abuse at least once.

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Aging America:  Elder Abuse, Use of Shelters Rising

The Forgotten Ones – Compassion for the Elderly

August 26, 2012

“I am so lonely at night. I have no one to talk to from the time I get home at 3.30 pm until I go out again the next day at 10.00 am. The dark makes me sad.”

“My dog is my only company and he’s getting old and his hips are very sore. I might have to have him put down. I am scared of being without him. I will be totally alone then.”

“No one comes to visit me. My daughter only calls me if she wants money.”

“I haven’t spoken to anyone for three days.”

These are real words spoken by real elderly people I have spokento in the past week. They make me cry. They make me scared to get old.

It seems the older a person becomes the less visible they are.

They are no longer deemed important once their bodies and minds start to fail and it appears they no longer have anything offer the mainstream world.

I know I am generalising because I do know many people who love and cherish their older relatives and take extremely good care of them, however I do know that too many people don’t.

I spend a lot of time with elderly people due to the care I provide for my Mother in Law each week and regular visits with her 70 year old brother and cousin. The more time I spend with them the more I realise that, whilst their bodies are frail and their minds are failing them, inside is still a human being who hasn’t forgotten what it is like to love, laugh and cry. Sadly many of them have more cause to cry than they have to love and laugh.

In previous times our elderly were also better taken care of. Families seemed to have more time to spend with their parents and grandparents. Family outings included all generations. In many cases up to three generations lived in the same home. The elderly were called upon to impart advice, provide assistance with rearing of children, help with cooking and mending. They were included. They had a purpose. They weren’t discarded.

A conversation with an elderly person is something special. They know about things we couldn’t even imagine.

So next time you see your granny or grandpa or the old lady next door, sit down with them and really talk to them. You will be surprised how long it’s been since someone really wanted to talk to them about them and their life and what matters to them.

Also, do you have any elderly people in your street? Do you know them? Do you know their names? Do they have regular visits from family and friends? Do you not have any idea? So many elderly people live alone without regular visits from family and friends. Most often the only person they see each day is the Meals on Wheels volunteer. Next time you see an elderly person, smile and say hello. Help them if they are struggling. You could be the only person they have spoken to all day. You will most likely make their day.

* Please volunteer to visit the lonely and forgotten elderly. ♥

The Forgotten Ones: Compassion for the Elderly

>Editorial: Ageism Contributes to Elder Abuse

April 21, 2011

>One doesn’t have to be a relative or friend of an older person who has suffered sexual abuse while in the charge of those hired to provide care, and not abuse and fear (“Putting a stop to elder sex abuse,” March 30), to be upset by stories of sexual abuse of older people.

Of course, more thorough and extensive criminal background checks of care facility prospective employees will certainly help to reduce the number of potential offenders; so would overall improved hiring practices that focus on finding staff members who will treat residents and patients with the respect they deserve.

But what really needs to change is our attitude toward older people. Ageism, despite valiant efforts to promote the vitality that many seniors enjoy, remains one of the last vestiges of fairly accepted discrimination in our society. It’s acceptable to find ways to not hire older (over 50, or sometimes, even over 45) people for jobs. It’s acceptable to make fun of older people who are doing things more commonly ascribed to those who are younger (“Isn’t it cute that Grandma met a man at, of all places, canoeing class?”). And worst of all, it is all too acceptable to not believe an older person, who may indeed have some physical and/or mental health issues, when she (or he) says in the strongest voice she can muster that she has been abused in the worst way possible.

Because whether we like it or not, most of us will be older some day. We cannot imagine such horror happening to us, and it should not happen to anyone else now.

Mary Stanik
Minneapolis (formerly of Eugene)

Ageism Contributes to Elder Abuse