Elder abuse

elderly abuse

One of the most serious problems is present in our society is the mistreatment of the elderly, women , minors and other groups at risk because of their particular vulnerability.

What is abuse or elder abuse?
The abuse can be physical person (physical attacks in different degrees, from a push to a beating, unnecessary mechanical restraints, etc..), Psychological (insults, threats, slurs, insulation, etc.), Sexual, economic or, in generally poor or degrading treatment.
As we are becoming older, our bodies age. Progressively lose autonomy and need more attention and care, at all levels.Depending on the needs and personal situation, the elderly are cared for by their families and other carers or professionals, whether at home or in any institution (doctors, pensioners clubs, day centers, residences, assisted , hospitals, psychogeriatric, etc.).Therefore, among caregivers of older people (family, professional or other caregivers) find, from the most excellent behavior to the most negligent.

 Physical or sexual abuse
– Cardinals (bilateral and in various stages of healing) .
– Flogging .
– Lacerations .
– Punctures .
– Fractures .
– Evidence of overmedication .
– Burns .
– Physical constraints (tied to the bed, etc..) .
– Malnutrition and dehydration .
– Low personal care .
– Bad Wrap .
– Lack of food and water .
– Clothing or bedding soiled .
– Lack of necessary medication .
– Lack of glasses, hearing aids or dentures .
– Difficulty walking or sitting .
– Venereal Diseases .
– Pain or itching, bruising or bleeding in the area of ​​the external genitalia, vaginal or anal .

Psychological abuse
The elderly react showing resignation, fear, depression , mental confusion, irritability, ambivalence and insomnia .
– Threats .
– Abuse .
– Persecutions .
– Lack of security and affection .
– Orders cruel .
– Refusal by the family or by the caregivers to the elderly to travel, receive visits from friends or other relatives or go to church .

Misuse of income or other financial resources (the victim is the best source of information, although in most cases transferred to another person manage their financial affairs and as a result can be confusion about this).

Medical abuse
Hide or administer drugs or necessary medical treatment for an illness, and not to provide medical supplies to people in need, such as dentures, glasses or hearing aids.

It may be due to:
– Confusion .
– Disorientation .
– Memory impairment .
– Agitation .
– Lethargy .
– Self-neglect  .

Conduct of the elderly or others that results in the deprivation of care necessary to maintain physical and mental health.

Puede manifestarse por: May be manifested by:
– Malnutrition .
– Poor personal hygiene .
– Any medical indications for abuse  .

What are the types of abuse or elder abuse?
According to the Washington Medical Association, can provide the following types of abuse in the elderly:

How often are given greater mistreatment?
According to the conclusions of the expert committee on aging of the U.S. Congress, is estimated at 10% the percentage of seniors who are abused (in varying degrees, from mild to severe), although it is suspected that the figure is even greater.In this regard, a study by the University of New Mexico (USA) notes that “the most do not recognize abuse in many cases, or complain of abuse and neglect, for fear that they lack attention the future (even abusive) and for fear of reprisals or being admitted to an institution. ”

Oktay and Tompkins Researchers at the University of Maryland (USA), concluded that more than half of the largest in institutions had been victims of abuse or neglect on the part of caregivers (professionals were adequately trained, but had complaints about low wages they received).

A recent study, carried out in 2001 in Oregon (USA), amounted to 10% the percentage of older people who suffer from abuse, corroborating the information provided above.

In Spain, the data are of interest provided by the gerontologist Dr. Nicolás Peña, who estimated between 2000 and 4000 people suffering from abuse in Cantabria.. Peña said that “the misconception submit to what the children say, join the fear, shame, social isolation, disability and age, factors that play against the old man at the time of detecting the problem.”

Symptoms that indicate that an older person is being abused :
– Injuries such as cuts, burns, bruises, that have no logical explanation and not suffer the person usually .
– Unkempt, untidy .
– Sores (being immobilized in bed), ulcers .
– Imprisonment, ties or excessive contention .
– Malnutrition or dehydration without a medical cause .
– Fear and evasive attitude in the greater .
– Depression .
– Anxiety .
– Continuous visits to many doctors and hospitals .
– Strange and contradictory explanations about damage or injury .
– Distresses, deprotection .
– Indecision, fear to speak openly .

Symptoms that describe the perpetrator of abuse
– Verbal: threats and insults to the senior .
– Clear interest only for the economic situation of the person and not their welfare and health .
– Problems for the abuse of alcohol and / or drugs .
– Prohibition and not let the person talk freely and alone .
– Blaming the greatest of all .
– Attitude of indifference and / or anger toward the elderly .
– Isolate, keep the person away from others in society .

How can we identify elder abuse?
The University of Illinois (USA) has published a list of symptoms that identify elderly abuse, and other relationship of symptoms that describe the perpetrator of abuse .

What can we do?
Affected people will need accommodation and medical, psychiatric and social. En ocasiones, son procedentes actuaciones jurídicas y de protección. Sometimes they are from legal proceedings and protection.Our country is promoting a social movement concerned about these issues which will undoubtedly lead to a new law that fits the existing realities.

A key aspect is the human rights education, in this case the rights of older people, at all levels.This intervention will be accompanied by appropriately disclosed in the media.

It is also necessary to promote information and communication among the elderly, their families and carers and health and social professionals to detect cases as soon as possible, and take appropriate action.

An important aspect that should be taken into account is to train, train and support constantly to the families and caregivers of the elderly, for their own welfare and, therefore, for the welfare of older people they care for.Caregivers need breaks, holidays and share the task.Sometimes it will be very helpful to get the advice of professionals, both to improve their training assistance, to overcome the overload, stress and routine, leading to many caregivers to “burn”.