An issue among senior citizens that is often overlooked is elder abuse in nursing and assisted living homes. This is a problem because senior citizens are being taken advantage of, and they are being treated poorly. Senior citizens are weaker and more vulnerable, so they are unable to defend themselves, and they are easier targets. This is a violation of basic human rights. According to the World Health Organization, “Around 1 in 6 people 60 years and older experienced some form of abuse in community settings during the past year”.
The types of elder abuse include physical, emotional, sexual, financial, and neglect. In a study done by Acierno and colleagues, they found that financial abuse was the most common. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, “Financial exploitation happens when someone illegally or improperly uses an older adult’s money or belongings for their personal use.
Financial exploitation is the fastest-growing form of elder abuse. It is a crime and is often not reported” (Frequently).
Financial abuse includes the person’s property and belongings, as well as their money. Elderly abuse is a problem that has been recognized by many organizations and agencies across the country. Although I could not find any statistical data on elder abuse specifically in Cobb or Douglas County, Cobb County has a task force called Cobb Elder Abuse Task Force. The Cobb Elder Abuse Task Force stated on their website that, “We are a multi-jurisdictional organization that addresses financial, physical/emotional and institutional abuse of seniors. In addition, we provide education and awareness training for service providers, law enforcement and community organizations” (ABOUT).
The task force was created in 2010 by the Cobb County Neighborhood Safety Commission.
Their purpose is to help vulnerable seniors and educate the community about elder abuse. Another organization in Georgia is the Adult Protective Services (APS). APS is state mandated and is in charge with investigating reported cases of abuse and neglect in senior citizens and adults with disabilities. APS is a branch under the Division of Aging Services (DAS), which is another branch under Georgia’s Department of Human Services (DHS). APS provides mandated reporters who are required to report any sign of abuse or neglect. These mandated reporters are required to report these incidents by Georgia law. Failure to report these signs may result in the reporter being charged with a misdemeanor. Georgia takes elder abuse very seriously, as everyone should. Individual senior citizens play a role in my life by providing me wisdom and love. My grandmother, Betty, is 88 years old. I try to call her at least once a month to catch up, and she always offers the best advice.
She is a caring, loving figure in my life, and I don’t know what I’ll do without her. I have not met a senior citizen who I relate to, but I’m sure there are some out there who I could relate to. I empathize with a lot of them and their beliefs, but I don’t always agree with them. I try to understand things from their perspective, and I try to remember that their opinions may be different because they grew up in a different time period. I have interacted with older people by getting my Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). A CNA is a certification as well as a job position, and they typically work at nursing homes. I did clinicals in a nursing home last year. I worked with them by helping them eat, changing their bed pans, etc. I heard a lot of stories while working in the nursing home. Most of the interactions I had were pleasant. Senior citizens play a role in the community and society by offering their knowledge, volunteering, etc.
Many senior citizens still speak up about their beliefs and provide knowledge about them. They teach us lessons about life and offer us guidance. Also, most of them are retired so they have time to be a part of the community and volunteer, if they’re physically and mentally able to. Donald Olen Cowgill and Lowell Don Holmes created the modernization theory in 1972, and it is within the conflict perspective. The theory suggests that the main reason of senior citizens losing power in society is because of industrialization and modernization. As societies modernize and industrialize, they become more individualistic, and as a result, the elderly experience social exclusion. Caring for the elderly is often seen as a voluntary obligation. Also, the elderly is unable to work, so they do not have as much in terms of money, and they are seen as a burden. This theory suggests that as people get older, they will be abandoned and lose support from their family because they are viewed as a “nonproductive economic burden”.
This theory applies to the issue of elder abuse because if a family abandons their elderly members, then they are neglecting them. Neglect is a form of abuse, and it happens when someone fails to provide basic needs for him or her. The family may stop caring for their elderly members. Also, if an elderly family member is seen as a burden, then that may lead to emotional abuse from another family member. Elder abuse is a serious subject that is not talked about enough. Senior citizens play an important role in society by offering us their wisdom and guidance, and we must cherish that, not abuse it. Thankfully, there are laws in place to criminalize elder abuse, and there are many agencies and organizations in the country that help prevent and report elder abuse.