Name: Lucy Klein
Explain the term “abuse and neglect of the elderly” and fully discuss the nature and extent of elder abuse. Substantiate your discussion with a case study or newspaper/internet article on the topic and discuss it in relation to the theory in your assignment
Table of Contents
Definition of key concepts
Nature and extent of elder abuse
6 - 7
8 - 9
Prevention and recommendations
10 - 11
13 - 15
Elder abuse occurs across all economic, ethnic, religious, gender and cultural groups. Abuse is harm caused by people the older person knows or with whom they have relationship such as their spouse, partner of a family member, friends, neighbours and care givers. What is elder abuse? It is the neglect, exploitation or “painful or harmful” mistreatment of anyone who is 65 or older (or anyone aged 18 to 64 who falls under the legal definition of a “dependent” adult). It can involve physical violence, psychological abuse, isolation, abandonment, abduction, false imprisonment or a caregiver’s neglect. It could also involve the unlawful taking of a senior’s money or property. According to Twain (2008:1), elder abuse is a relatively new phenomenon, not only in South Africa but globally. When I think about the word abuse, the first representation that comes to mind is a violent beating of some sort and not so much mental abuse. One of the most commonly accepted definition is a single or repeated act occurring within a relationship where there is an expectation of trust. It is most commonly the use of power and control by one individual to affect the well-being and status of another older individual.
Understanding how elderly people are being harmed is important. It helps one identify the problem and prevent the person from being harmed .It also helps prevent abuse of elderly people in future. People often see the abuse and say nothing, most are family members and caregivers who are afraid to speak up because they think that their co-workers or other family members will retaliate. Then there are those that think that they may lose their jobs at work or be viewed as outcast and shunned by the family. There are some elderly people with adult children who also abuse them, because they can’t deal with the stress of taking care of their elderly parents, they think of them as being a burden and don’t have the time or the patience and rather not deal with them.
Definitions of key concepts
The definition of the national NGO Action on Elder Abuse South Africa (AEASA) is conservative and refers to "…any act of commission or omission, intentional or unintentional, that causes an older person to experience distress, harm, suffering, victimization or loss that usually occurs within a relationship where there is an expectation of trust" (AEASA, 2006). Wikipedia describes Elder abuse (also called "elder mistreatment," "senior abuse," "abuse in later life," "abuse of older adults," "abuse of older women," and "abuse of older men") is "a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person."
Other researchers define elder abuse as the physical, sexual, or emotional abuse of an elderly person, usually one who is disabled or frail (Heap 2008:15).
Nature and extent of elder abuse
Abuse of the elderly is on the rise, it is a silent epidemic, because people fail to notice the signs such as bruises or pain that the elderly is in and also that some realizes the signs and don’t care. An awareness of elder abuse as a problem in South Africa started to grow from the...
References: a) Action on Elder Abuse South Africa. (2004). AEASA brochure. Cape Town. Internet: www.actiononelderabusesa.co.za. Accessed 7 February 2012
b) Elder Abuse South Africa - AEASA. Website
http://www.elderabuse.co.za. Accessed 23 February 2013
c) Elder Abuse and Neglect: In Search of Solutions, American Psychological Association 2003, Internet:
http://www.apa.org/pi/aging/resources/guides/elder-abuse.aspx. Accessed 18 March 2013
d) Joubert, J., & Lindgren, P. (2003). HEAL: An intervention project addressing elder abuse in South Africa. Internet: http://www.heal.org.za/abuse/report_final.pdf. Accessed 7 February 2013
e) Nkuna, B. IOL. 2008. Elderly find themselves trapped in abuse. Internet:
http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/elderly-find-themselves-trapped-in-abuse-1.389602. Accessed 24 March 2013
f) Speak up about elder abuse, it could be you one day - The Witness, Internet: http://www.witness.co.za. Accessed 12 March 2013
g) Study Guide. Department of Criminology and Security Science. Victimology (Only study guide for CMY3705). Pretoria: Unisa
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