Writer: Teresa Madaleno
I am writing about this subject because it hurts me to see what is happening to so many elderly people. Elder abuse appears to be at an all time high. Sadly, there are millions of elderly being abused; either physically, verbally or financially every year in North America and it has to STOP!
There was a time when everyone really did respect seniors. They were admired for their wisdom, their contribution to the community and their dedication to the family so what happened? Seriously, what kind of person would intentionally abuse a senior? Well, according to data collected by government officials, a lot of the abusers are sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and lawyers.
Just recently I turned on the Television and saw that CBC News was running a report on a 92-year-old self-made millionaire who is complaining that two of his children took almost all of his life savings. The British Columbia man has hired a lawyer and is going after his kids. The BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support reports that in 2015 the office received over 1,500 calls about financial elder abuse.
In the United States, The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to launch a data collection program to help experts combat elder abuse. In Australia, The Law Council has called on the federal government to reform elder abuse laws, in light of the fact that abuse is becoming a growing problem. Here in Canada The Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse is working harder than ever before to advocate for the elderly and spread the word about the problem.
Government statistics in Canada seem to indicate that one in five of us might know a senior who is being abused, yet the abuse seems to continue. Like most societal issues, it looks like we have to get involved as well. We as citizens have to be observant. Learn the warning signs and report any abuse that you see. The link below can show you what to look for:
I can’t say that I understand this problem at all. When you look at Japan for example, they don’t have elder abuse to the extent that we do in North America or Australia. The Japanese seem to have high regard for seniors. There is even a national holiday in the country called, “Respect for the Aged Day”. In China it is law to honour your parents. Did you know that parents in China are legally entitled to sue their own children for financial and emotional support? Here’s another example- in Greece using the term “Geronda”, which essentially means “Old Man” isn’t considered a negative slur, but an endearing name.
To the abusers I say, be ashamed of yourselves. Have you not thought at all about your senior years and how you would want to be treated?