"We never know the love of a parent
Till we become a parent ourselves"
- Henry Ward Beecher
In a busy world, people often tend to miss many special relations, memories and moments. Yet at times, one doesn't realize what that void is or where that empty feeling comes from.
Is it because we miss our families?
Is it because you just do not get enough time to spend with your loved ones?
Or, is it because you are estranged from your dear ones?
W o r l d . E l d e r . A b u s e . A w a r e n e s s . D a y
June 15th marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
Somewhere in this world, maybe near the corner of your street, an elder is being mistreated. It can be a family member, an acquaintance, or even that old man/woman you see walking in your neighbourhood everyday.
Abuse against elders occurs when older people are mistreated or put into distress by a more dominant person. This can be by a family member, a work mate, or someone that the elder trusts in general.
The abuse either occurs through emotional, psychological, or financial factors, and at many times it is the combination of at least two.
"Remember to love your parents ...
We are so busy growing up,
We often forget they are also growing old"
Yet, a lot of the abuse against elders occurs through the relationship they share with their own children. Unfortunately, a time comes when even a son/daughter would find their parents to be a burden on them.
We often hear scenarios of where elders are left to fend for themselves by their own kin. They are put into senior homes and isolated from the rest of the family.
In other situations, elders face the brunt of their relatives while living at home. When such cases occur, the elder may even fear to speak of the abuse happening to them.
Ironically, elders are mistreated by the children that they trust the most. The abuse that happens within the confines of the family can sometimes be very shocking.
But what actually leads to such a situation?
At times it can be due to financial situations at home and the family not being able to provide for the elder
There are chances that the family members feel disconnected from the elder due to differences and disagreements on various matters
Sometimes (especially in the case of newly-weds) a situation arises where the couple prefers to be left alone with minimal interference from the elders
Surprisingly, even external pressures can sometimes disrupt the harmony within a family where elders end up being targeted for the messy situation
And the list continues. There are many different reasons for why problems may occur within a family. Unfortunately, the frustration that develops from these conflicts are at many times expressed through abuse.
What type of abuses occur?
This primarily includes physically assaulting the elder by hitting, striking, pushing etc.
Though not as visible as physical abuses, psychological abuse is still prominent. This varies from harassment and insults to humiliation and threats, etc.
The most common of the abuses is through financial factors. It can be something like stealing an elder's assets/property, forging their signatures, or even cashing cheques without authorization
"Old age is not a disease - it is
A strength and survivorship, triumph over
All kinds of vicissitudes and disappointments,
trials and illnesses"
- Maggie Kuhn
Every problem in this world has a solution. There may be challenges, but with time and effort even the most impossible can become possible.
The same applies to Elder Abuse. It might be hard to completely eliminate the abuse that occurs immediately, but raising awareness can bring about the change.
Some of the visible symptoms of elder abuse include fear and anxiety, unexplained physical injuries, or even reluctance to speak about a tough situation. Though it is not right to make judgments based on speculations, you can still make sure the elder has access to information and the type of help that is available for abused victims.
Federal governments, community centers, and other institutions offer various programs that are aimed at helping seniors and providing a healthy environment for them. Yet, many don't seem to know about these programs. Simply going to these places, interacting with the people there, and participating in the organized events itself can help raise awareness
The two points listed above are just few of the things one can do to raise awareness against Elder Abuse.
How can you help prevent abuse/raise awareness?
"Said the little boy, 'Sometimes I drop my spoon.'
Said the old man, 'I do that too.'
The little boy whispered, 'I wet my pants.'
'I do that too,' laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, 'I often cry.'
The old man nodded, 'So do I.'
'But worst of all,' said the boy, 'it seems
Grown-ups don't pay attention to me.'
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
'I know what you mean,' said the old little man
- Shel Silverstein