Note: This article might be difficult to read for some viewers. Discretion is advised.
Most of us have elderly relatives, many are grandparents, some are aunts and uncles and others may even be your own parents. Dear friends and neighbours might also be in their golden years and while getting older is a life stage that many people look forward to and enjoy, common age-related issues mean that the elderly are prime targets for malicious abusers.
Abuse of the elderly is nothing new, yet it is a very common concern among almost every nation on the planet with almost all cases of abuse being perpetrated by those who have been appointed to care for the victim, making people in this category of criminal among some of the most despicable people in the world yet the figures continue to rise.
The Figures Speak for Themselves
Reputable organisations that collect, collate and analyse data have identified a stunning amount of elderly abuse cases perpetrated by caregivers across the planet. The World Health Organization reports that approximately 1.2 billion people over the age of 60 have been subjected to criminal abuse including neighbours, relatives, grandparents and parents and the real figure is estimated to be higher due to underreporting.
In addition, the WHO is also concerned that the additional stresses placed upon families and the elderly by the pandemic have exacerbated an already worrying number of cases relating to abuse, with the UK charity Hourglass reporting a 25% increase in cases during Covid. Fortunately, though, there are those that can help when seeking justice for your parent(s) or other elderly relatives.
Taking Action Against Those Responsible
In cases where genuine and serious psychological, physical, sexual or financial abuse has taken place, you can take measures to hold any guilty parties accountable for their actions. Care homes are responsible for the conduct of any of their employees and are therefore liable in any abuse cases, while private caregivers and family members can be reported.
In any case, you can report abuse to either care home administration (who have a legal responsibility to report their own staff), adult protective services and the police. Adult protective services can launch an investigation against caregivers and care home facilities while the police can also investigate abuse reports and launch a criminal case against any liable parties.
How You Can Help Prevent Abuse
Preventing abuse is a very difficult process and most people aren’t even aware of what to look for beyond obvious clues such as bruises, physical injury and weight loss, all of which can be a natural symptom of aging. Other common signs of physical abuse or neglect include bedsores, medication mismanagement and regular falls, while mental abuse symptoms can manifest as withdrawal, depression, anger and agitation.
Another serious issue is that of elderly sexual exploitation. This is when an elderly victim has been used for sexual purposes against their will, consent or understanding by either another man or woman. Common signs of this kind of horrific abuse include injuries to the private areas, sexually transmitted diseases, agitation around certain people, withdrawal and trouble walking or going to the bathroom.