California State University of Sacramento
Lifespan stage and counseling-related problems.
As part of being a human being, we are born and we grow old as time passes and then we die as life comes to an end. Part of human development is the stage of late adulthood. From the book “Human Behavior in the Social Environment,” by Jose B. Ashford and Craig Winston LeCroy, the years from age sixty until death are considered late adulthood. At this stage of life, there are many challenges that the elderly people face. Aging comes with the loss of being independent, age discrimination and diminished physical ability. During the aging process, there are also biological, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual changes. Beside two other big challenges such as poverty and ageism, one of the biggest problems that elderly people face is elderly abuse when they are at the point in their lives where they are dependent of someone to provide supports for them. According to the American Psychological Association, an estimated 4 million older Americans are victims of physical, psychological or other forms of abuse and neglect. Many people who hear “elder abuse and neglect” think about older people who live in nursing homes or older relatives who live all alone and don’t have visitors. Being part of the counseling program, it is important for counselors to know that majority of incidents of elder abuse do not happen in nursing homes or other residential settings, but rather takes place at their own home with their own spouses, children, siblings or relatives. Forms of elderly abuse to be aware of are physical abuse, verbal/psychological/emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation and neglect. Elder abuse is often a very complex problem that is caused by many reasons such as cultural issues, stress, society and other factors. Elder abuse affects both older men and women from all socioeconomic groups, cultures, races and ethnicities. Bio-psycho-social developmental themes
Bio-psycho-social developmental themes affecting late adulthood is crucial in understanding elderly abuse. During this developmental stage, there are lots of changes in the biological systems among this age group. Problems related to elderly physical health include gradual loss of bone mass, joints are more restricted, variety of foot problems, and arthritis which is known to affect many elderly people. Power and speed of muscle decrease as well as strength and endurance. There is a decline in hearing and vision impairment. Skin gets thin and dryer which make the skin more easily bruised and injured. Maintaining independence and health is very important in the success of someone who is in this stage of development. With the biology of aging, the elderly become physically frail which cause others to care for them sometimes resulting in mistreatment and abuse. Forms of elderly abuse that affect the individuals biologically are physical abuse and sexual abuse. Physical abuse ranges from getting slapped, shoved, beatings, kicking, pinching, burning, and getting restrained with ropes or chains. Giving inappropriate medications is also part of physical abuse. Sexual abuse among this age group ranges from inappropriate touching, forcing sexual contact, rape, sodomy and coerced nudity. It is the least reported type of elderly abuse. Sexual abuse also includes taking pictures and forcing an individual to look at pornography. These two forms of elder abuse usually cause physical problems such as signs of body bruises, bruises around genital areas, unexplained sexually transmitted diseases, untreated wounds, sprains, broken glasses and bloody underclothing. There are changes in the psychological system of this developmental stage that contributed to elderly abuse and mistreatment. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia for aging individuals. Alzheimer is literally having memory loss which is common among...
References: Glicken, M. D. (2009). Evidence-based counseling and psychotherapy for an aging population. Amsterdam: Academic.
Thompson, H., & Priest, R. (2005). Elder Abuse and Neglect: Considerations for Mental Health Practitioners. Adultspan Journal, 4(2), 116-128.
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