I was recently approached by Amber Palely, a guest post and article writer bringing to us information on the prevalence of elder abuse in the U.K, to help raise awareness of elderly abuse and neglect. As a district nurse specialising mainly in care of the elderly it is very close to my heart and something I feel very passionately about.
The abuse of the elderly is something few of us can fathom. The elderly are many times vulnerable due to mental and physical ailments and need our care when they cannot care for themselves. For a caregiver of any kind to abuse or neglect an elderly person is monstrous. And according to a 2006 research study conducted by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), the Institute of Gerontology, and the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King’s College London, elder abuse is more common than many of us know.
According to the study, about 342,400 people (i.e. 4 percent) over the age of 66 “living in private households (including sheltered housing)” admitted to experiencing abuse or neglect by a caregiver, family member, friend, neighbour, or acquaintance in the past year.
Accordingly, the abuse was broken down like so:
· 51% of mistreatment in the past year involved a spouse/partner
· 49% another family member
· 13% a care worker
· 5% a close friend.
The study defined the abuses experienced by the elderly in the following way:
· “Neglect – e.g. repeated failure of a designated caregiver to provide help with personal care and day to day activities.” Neglect was found to be the most common form of abuse during the study; 1.1 percent of respondents admitted to experiencing it;
· “Financial abuse – e.g. theft, fraud, misuse of power of attorney.” (.7 percent of respondents);
· “Psychological abuse – e.g. persistent insults and threats.” (.4 percent of respondents);
· “Physical abuse – e.g. physical violence, physical restraint, over-medication.” (.4 percent of respondents);
· “Sexual abuse – e.g. verbal harassment, touching in a sexual way or intercourse without consent.” (.2 percent of respondents).
The study also found that, “Women were more likely to say that they had experienced mistreatment than men: 3.8% of women and 1.1% of men.”
Thus it is plain to see that elder abuse is a problem and that something must be done to curve its frequency. Luckily, there are advocacy groups working towards this goal; hopefully, it will only be a matter of time before the problem subsides.
Shocking statistics don't you think? So if you have five minutes spare today please read this and help spread the word. Old age eventually comes to all, we must help prevent this in the future for our loved ones and ourselves.
Amber spends much of her professional life writing about http://www.nursinghomeabuse.net/abuse-types-symptoms-and-horror-stories