The rate of older people being abused by the people they trust has increased in the recent past, especially during the pandemic period. This has resulted from the fact that the population of older persons is large and most of the individuals require close people to take care of them. Elder abuse can be carried out by a family caregiver or in an institutional setting. Elder abuse, in this case, refers to an act that ends up causing injury or agony to an older person. This form of abuse can result from either physiological, physical, financial, sexual exploitation, or neglect. About one in six persons above sixty years receive some form of elder abuse (World Health Organization). There is a need to develop strategies that will help to eliminate elder abuse from caregivers experienced in institutional settings and homes that result from problematic relationships and attitudes portrayed by involved persons.
Institutionalized older people are at a very high risk of experiencing various forms of elder abuse. Many older adults who end up in an institutional setting do not have people to take care of them or the ability to handle themselves. In this case, they are left vulnerable to those assigned responsibilities to take care of them (Acharya et al.). According to Yon et al., a survey carried out in a USA nursing home reported that about half of the staff had carried out psychological abuse to an older adult they were taking care of. In most cases of physical abuse in an institutional setting, staff report that they result from aggressive individuals who need to be contained. The rate of abuse in institutional settings for elderly persons indicates that there is a need for policies that will help to ensure that such individuals are well taken care of.
Family caregivers who take up the responsibility of supporting the elderly in various duties also contribute to the many elder abuse cases. According to Orfila et al., family caregivers are involved in a third of the abuse cases reported. This indicates that family members are also part of the suffering that is endured by elderly persons. Abuse of older adults by their relatives might result from stress, the burden involved, social isolation, and mood problems. This shows that family caregivers also need support in taking care of the elderly. Caregivers might feel that the elderly are disturbing their normal life and end up being aggressive towards them. However, most abuse cases are faced by individuals with more than seventy-four years, those with comorbidities, and females.
The attitudes held by caregivers play a role in influencing whether an older adult is likely to experience any form of abuse. Caregivers who have a negative attitude about the role and responsibilities assigned to them are more likely to engage in harassing the elderly. Caregivers who do not have adequate skills to take care of the individuals also have a high likelihood of engaging in harassing behavior (Storey 18). This shows that there is a need for caregivers to undergo some form of training to ensure that they can handle elderly persons as needed. The attitudes portrayed by elderly persons receiving care also influence the possibility of experiencing harassment that causes harm to them. Healthcare professionals and other stakeholders need to be very vigilant when assigning caregivers to elderly persons.
Elder abuse cases are also likely to result from problematic relationships between the caregivers and an older person. Individuals who do not have a working relationship are more likely to engage in quarrels that might lead to abuse. Caregivers with a positive relationship with the elderly persons they take care of cannot engage in any form of violence or harassment. Individuals with a low level of engagement with the elderly enhance the chances of abusing the individuals they take care of. This shows that there is a need to assess the relationship between a caregiver and an older adult when assigning caring roles to eliminate the possibility of victimization in the process. Governments around the world also need to establish strategies and policies that will help to reduce the cases of elderly abuse.
In conclusion, governments around the world need to establish strategies and policies that will help to limit the number of elderly persons who experience any form of abuse. In most cases of older persons who are harassed, the perpetrators are assigned the duty to take care of them in both institutional settings and their homes. Older people experience harassment since they are old or have comorbidities that make them vulnerable to individuals taking care of them. The attitudes portrayed by caregivers and older persons also enhance or minimize the chances of abusive relationships. This shows that there is a need for healthcare professionals to provide education to caregivers on how to relate with the individuals they take care of. Training will help to ensure that caregivers have the knowledge and skills that will enable them to tolerate the various things they experience.
Acharya, Shiva Raj, et al. “Prevalence of abuse among the elderly population of Syangja, Nepal.” BMC public health 21.1 (2021): 1-9. Web.
Orfila, Francesc, et al. “Family caregiver mistreatment of the elderly: prevalence of risk and associated factors.” BMC public health 18.1 (2018): 1-14. Web.
Storey, Jennifer E. “Risk factors for elder abuse and neglect: A review of the literature.” Aggression and violent behavior 50 (2020): 101339. Web.
World Health Organization: WHO. “Elder Abuse.” World Health Organization, 2021, Web.
Yon, Yongjie, et al. “The prevalence of elder abuse in institutional settings: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” European journal of public health 29.1 (2019): 58-67. Web.