Once an elderly individual becomes abused, they end up in a pattern of abuse. According to Levin et al., (2020), an elderly individual is mostly likely subject to abuse from a family member, and the abuse also comes from a caregiver or trusted individual. The abuse can be psychological, financial, physical, sexual, exploitation, neglect and self-neglect. Because these elderly individuals that require assistance due to physical or cognitive issues, they often with a family member, this makes it difficult for the elderly abused to get out of the situation. This abuse can be considered intentional, unintentional, or related to lack of knowledge. Miller (2018, p. 166) also indicated that the caregiver can become overwhelmed, or suffer from their own cognitive and physical issues making the neglect or abuse complicated. Elderly abuse is also perceived by differently cultures differently, for example the Chinese culture can consider raising your voice, or being disrespectful as abuse. Physical abuse to this vulnerable population is preventable and needs to be rectified. The second is emotional or psychological. This form of abuse can be hidden easier, but it causes the individua to become isolated leading to depression. According to the National Council on Aging, 5 million elderly are abused each year with only 1 in 14 cases being reported.
There are ways to limit elderly abuse. Families that are taking care of an elderly person should seek outside time, or time for themselves, this helps prevent caregiver strain and fatigue. Elderly individuals can also be educated at checkup appointments about abuse and the many forms it can entail. As practitioner’s we should evaluate our patients regularly, even asking he caregiver to step outof the room to discuss their emotional state and identify any signs of possible abuse. We should also empower healthcare givers to attend group meetings to form relationships with other caregivers.
Levin, M. K., Reingold, D., & Solomon, J. (2020). Elder Abuse Shelter Programs: From Model to Movement. Generations, 44(1), 74–80.
Miller, C. A. (2018). Nursing for Wellness in Older Adults. [South University]. Retrieved from https://digitalbookshelf.southuniversity.edu/#/books/9781975100735/
Elder abuse has been shined a spotlight on and has become more evident to the public. Two types of elder abuse that are very crucial to discuss are chemically subduing the elderly patients and physically abusing the elderly patients with assault and battery. Even though the light is on this topic, it may be difficult to intervene even though it may be easily spotted. if the elderly patient is being chemically subdued in the nursing home, it can become difficult to notice the signs since the elderly patient may be sleeping when the family members arrive, or may be afraid to say something because the patient believes they will receive some sort of punishment. When physically abusing the patient, the signs are easy to identify however the employee may say the patient just fell and hurt themselves. It is easily believable especially if the older patient suffers from dementia and has become restless and anxious.
These two are the most crucial because these two are mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting to the patients that must endure it. These patients may become depressed, scared, traumatized, and have a hard time trusting anyone else. As nurses, it goes against our code when purposely inflicting damage to someone that is under our care. It is our responsibility to go beyond and provide the utmost care possible to everyone. The most important is prevention however we cannot prevent another employee causing harm however what we may do is be able to detect and know the early signs. Some signs are oversleeping, unexplained bruises, scarring, burns, sprains, so many signs so it is our duty to stay educated on this topic to help all our patients (Team, 2020).
Team, T. N. H. A. C. (2020, January 8). Physical Elder Abuse – Signs of Physical Elderly Abuse. Nursing Home Abuse Center. https://www.nursinghomeabusecenter.com/elder-abuse/types/physical-abuse/