Elder Abuse Law
Elder abuse is a term which is generally used to describe some
kinds of harmful actions perpetrated towards senior citizens (including
hitting, striking, sexual abuse, financial, emotional abuse, malnourishment,
or other neglect). The synonyms of this term can be "abuse
in later life", "senior abuse" or "elder mistreatment."
A common definition which gives a detailed idea about elder abuse
may be something on the order of "an act occurring within
any trusting relationship in society in which someone does harm
to an older person."
In recent years, with the advancement of technology people can
actually extend how long they live. More people than ever before
live for over 80 years and in some parts of the world octogenarians
are not uncommon.
As people age, many will not have ability to move freely because
they suffer from different kinds of diseases, disorders and conditions.
They may need someone to help them in their daily activities as
well as health related issues.
But seniors may not receive the proper treatment or care they
need. Other people (including families and friends) may think
that these older people are useless to the society and they may
hurt the elderly because they think that these people are slow
Elder abuse is usually a form of domestic violence, though it
can occur in nursing homes and hospitals as well. At home many
times the family takes care of their elderly parents.
This is where a power different between parents and grown children
can occur. The parents who used to be the caregivers to the children
have now switched roles and now it is the grown children who are
This role reversal may be psychologically difficult for both
parties. Elderly people may not want to give away their power
be it emotional, psychological, physical or financial. The grown
children may feel burdened with their new roles plus old, unresolved
childhood resentments and other issues may cause interpersonal
conflict between the two parties.
Family counseling may be needed in order to sort out these interpersonal
problems including how the family dynamics have changed. It is
recommended that all family members living in the same house with
the elderly person participate.
The elderly person may feel like they have little options in
regard to their living situation. This is when the "It Takes
a Village to Raise a Child" mentality must kick in for all
people who are in contact with the elderly person. Family, friends,
nurses, doctors and others need to have the "It Takes a Village
to Protect the Elderly" mentality.
Suspected cases of elder abuse need to be reported. Elderly persons
have rights under the laws of each state that must be protected.
And, the United States is not the only country with elder abuse
laws. Many countries have realized the problem of elder abuse
and the laws are established in different countries with the same
goal, which is to protect the elderly.
In 2006, INPEA, which is the International Network for Prevention
of Elder Abuse, decided to set June 15 of each year as the World
Elder Abuse Awareness Day. More countries will pay attention to
this day and the growing problem of elder abuse in all countries.
Two federal laws, the Older Americans Act of 1965 (OAA) and the
Vulnerable Elder Rights Protection Program of 1992 helped states
give a framework to their own specific sets of laws against violence
The elder abuse laws vary in each state. So, check with your
state on what the specific laws are and what is needed to carry
them out. Here is a link to Elder
Abuse Hotlines for every U. S. state which is the first
step in upholding elder abuse law. Report the issue first and
if needed then retain an attorney second to protect the rights
of the senior you are concerned about.