When discussing abuse and neglect we often think of children first. That being said, children are not the only ones who will be abused and/or neglected. In fact, this happens to some elderly as well. While some elderly may be productive enough to care for themselves, others are not. The end result is a complete (or close to complete) dependency on someone else for their needs. In addition, just like with children, this dependency can lead to abuse and/or neglect.
There has been an increase in the number of elderly that have been subjected to violence and mistreatment. This type of treatment is associated with the individual’s dependency on others; whether it be a relative, acquaintance and/or institution (Meadows, 2010). According to estimates “between 1 and 2 million Americans aged 65 years or older have been injured, exploited, or otherwise mistreated by someone on whom they depended for case or protection (National Research Council Panel to Review Risk and Prevalence of elder abuse and neglect, 2003)” (Meadows, 2010, p. 87). The type of abuse that elderly get subjected to is not only physical, it may also be emotional. Obviously, abuse may take on many different forms and may include: financial abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect. This abuse is not limited to certain circumstances it can happen in poor, middle-class or upper income household. This includes a variety of demographs and ethnicities (Meadows, 2010). Anyone may potential cause abuse and/or neglect.
Neglect gets broken up into two types, passive and active (Meadows, 2010). Passive neglect is when “the primary caregiver, perhaps a son or daughter, for some reason is unable to provide required care” (Meadows, 2010, p.88). Active neglect is when there is a “conscious attempt to inflict injury or emotional stress on the older person” (Meadows, 2010, p.88). This type of neglect may involve a “deliberate withdrawal of health services, food or other necessities” (Meadows, 200, p.88). In some ways older people seem like the perfect targets for abuse, due to their relative weakness. Active neglect may be utilized for exploitation purposes, like trying “to cash in on a life insurance policy” (Meadows, 2010, p.88). Caring for elders that are very ill or incapacitated can be daunting and become burdensome. This is when a situation may spiral out of control and lead to a passive neglect situation. Today, with the increase in life span, it only widens the opportunity for an increase in elderly victimization (Meadows, 2010). This victimization is not limited to family caregivers, it also includes institutions.
Negligence is also occurring within nursing homes and other care institutions. Studies pertaining to negligence in nursing homes have been conducted. The text uses California as an example, in which 1 out of 3 nursing homes were found to have serious problems with life threatening care. In many cases the care was far from standard and caused death...