GlobalHealthAfrica

The Untold Story: Elder Abuse

In Elder Abuse on November 18, 2012 at 5:06 am

In Angola, the ill-treatment suffered by many elderly people contributes a lot to their departure from the home and their families (Ministry of Welfare Social Reintegration). Although some families take care of their elderly parents, others subject their parents to physical and emotional abuse. This results in a reduced quality of life for the elderly. “The disrespect that old people receive from their relatives compel them to leave their residences to other places, seeking better living conditions”, said Berta Mendonça, the Deputy Provincial Director of Welfare and Social Reintegration.

Since old age homes are not widespread in Angola, and elder abuse is rarely reported, the elderly end up living on the streets. Ms. Mendonça explains that “the abuse situation is also the cause behind the increase in the number of old people who are street beggars”. In addition to being a marginalized and vulnerable group, elderly street beggars are at risk for diseases, malnutrition, and mental health issues. There are very few health systems that currently address this problem because elderly street begging is common in Africa. Governments should make this a priority by launching elderly home care and adult day programs, for instance. Moreover, NGOs and humanitarians can play a part too. This video portrays the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Namibia.

 

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  1. Elder Abuse in U.S. is very bad too especially near the nation’s capital. Maryland has been extremely bad in Montgomery County where the state and county are corrupted and those supposed to protect harm them the most especially ombudsman programs and adult protective services. The Governor Martin O’Malley promised in September 2011 to protect one such bad case of beatings but he never followed through his promise was just for the cameras he does not care about seniors even though they still vote in nursing homes. Sometimes visitors are attacked in these places and both patients and female visitors are sexually assaulted by male workers even administrators. It can happen even in otherwise respectable places like the home that used to be part of a hospital (name withheld) in Takoma Park. My loved one was beat on his back and balls and I was gang raped by staff first by the admissions officer. Local Police just cover it up because the hospital wanted to keep it quiet. Reputation and appearances were more important to local officials than safety of public and patients. No protection was offered. Those rapist and abusers still walk free more than a year later.

    • Patricia, thank you for your comment. We are truly sorry for everything you’ve endured! Can you contact Adult Protective Services in another state? This is very sad but something may happen if you do. Please let us know!

  2. My grandmother was severely beaten in a Prince Georges County, MD. Nursing home and it devastated my family. She died shortly after the beating. That was 20 years ago. The institution hid the identity of the abuser and simply transferred her to another floor. I don’t believe in institutionalized aging. Seniors should be allowed to age in place with the help and support of their family, friends and communities. Unfortunately I feel elder abuse in institutions will only get worse due to the increase in the senior population and budget cuts. The agencies that are designed to oversee abuse cases are understaffed and underfunded. The staff at nursing homes and other institutions are underpaid and overworked and there is a lack of understanding and compassion among some of the administrators whose main concern is profit and appearance. If they were to take an honest look at the situation they would create an environment wherein the caregivers had more input on the day to day operations as well as opportunities to express their concerns. The caregivers are only human, they are not robots or animals. I believe if the institutions were to put people ahead of profits they just might come up with better ideas on how to address these atrocities. With that said, I realize change doesn’t come overnight, therefore while the “Titanic’s” are trying to change course, I support the Village concept, or Seniors Helping Seniors or other such like community based aging in place programs.

    • Pam, thank you for your comment. We are truly sorry for everything you’ve endured! You are the second person that has commented on elder abuse in Maryland so we are concerned. You’re right about institutionalized aging although some elderly may not have the support of family, friends and communities. Caregiver input is very important and you bring up good points about that. Also, change is not overnight but we know of great organizations that are confronting these problems. You mention some of them!

    • Pam,
      It’s Patty Sears who also commented on this site, please contact me maybe we can help each other I truely understand your pain ad loss I have seen so much in Montgomery County we live close enough to meet please email and I’l give you numbers to call I am an Advocate for the Elderly and Disabled especially in Maryland. I am volunteer and give advise I want info on your case to help prevent it happening to any one else there in P. G. and also in this county some of these places are owned by the same corporations and it maybe that those who harmed your relative are the same people who are abusing others in the incidents I am investigating and advocating for together we can get perhaps enough evidence to make a change occur. Abusers count on families not knowing of other similar events which would prove pattern of abuse. You can help save lives with info and not realize it yet. I’ll tell you about organizations like Genesis Health Care and Manor “Don’t” Care and others that have abused people in same locality and all about the corruption in the ombudsman and adult protective services at county and state levels. Hope to be your friend and help in anyway I can. Let’s change the system of abuse to one of healing and respect for our seniors.

      • Patty, thank you for reaching out to Pam! That’s very thoughtful of you. We will check out the organizations you’ve stated and truly appreciate your work!

      • Patty,
        I would be happy to talk to you. Please give me your contact information.

        Thanks,
        Pam

  3. I am at patriciasears65@yahoo.com or IM me at robuckps on yahoo. I’m also on LinkedIN and listed in phone book but wont give number here. Anyone in MD needing help with nursing home abuse can contact me. I will try to help for free.. I am volunteer and get no pay;. It is a calling of GOD and a labor of love I want to make all nursing homes in U.S. safe. It can be done in Jesus Holy Name I pray and thank GOD for the opportunies to make a difference.

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