Elder Abuse Essay

2275 words - 10 pages

Once I started writing, I realized that elder abuse is very hard to write about and even harder to talk about. In fact I believe this is probably one of the reasons why this topic is so seldom up for discussion. When I was researching this paper I tried to talk to or email professionals in the field, and all of them through words, silence, or redirecting me to someone else, conveyed an unwillingness to talk about it. If elder abuse is the elephant in the room it, is a big one. The American Psychological Association calculates that there are 4,000,000 cases of elder abuse whether it is physical abuse, psychological abuse, or abuse in one of its other forms. The APA also estimates for every single case of elder abuse that is actually reported, there are 23 seniors suffering in silence. Before starting this project, the few times I thought about elder abuse I thought it was something that happened only in bad elder care facilities in some remote location, but in fact most of the time it happens at home, at the hands of family members. According to the national center on elder abuse only 10% of elder abuse is committed by non-family members. Perhaps elder abuse is coming (although slowly) into the light, because the size of the elderly population is growing. In 2010 the US census recorded the highest proportion of people over 65 in history 13% and these numbers are likely to keep growing (National Center on Elder Abuse). The term elder abuse can describe a wide range of things from scams targeted at the elderly all the way to rape and murder.
There is no excuse for elder abuse, but there are some factors to give extra strain to home caregivers, for example sometimes a family will take care of an elderly relative at home because professional care facilities are to expensive. In 2012 a private room in a care facility cost on average of $90,500 per year, and the maximum amount of time Medicare will pay for an elder care facility is 100 days (How to Pay for Nursing Home Costs). Although Medicare may pay for up to 35 hours per week of in home care for people who qualify, this is primarily for “physical therapy, speech-language pathology, and occupational therapy” (How to Pay for Nursing Home Costs) and Medicare will not cover the cost of the actual day to day assistance that could mean the difference between living alone with daily assistance and moving into a care facility. (How to Pay for Nursing Home Costs) This can make it almost impossible for families without insurance to afford professional care. The cost may explain why 95 percent of the elderly are being cared for at home (NCAA). Some of the problems related to home care stem from the fact that the caregivers are not trained, and thus may not be able to handle certain situations-for example an elderly dementia patient becoming aggressive.
Sometimes the caregiver is just overloaded, as they may be trying to take care of their elderly love ones while holding down a job and/or raising kids....

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