Last night I did a talk on bullying for an audience of people at a local library and started out asserting the same motto that I use for discussing addictions as being applicable to bullying.
Bullying does not discriminate, rather people do! Just like addictions, bullying does not care what; your race is, your religious beliefs are, your gender, your sexual orientation, or your age. It is an equal opportunist! When I started to discuss elder abuse and ageism linked to bullying, the sympathetic, confused looks for which some offered, quickly turned to disdain almost pleading with me to, “Say it isn’t so!” Unfortunately, it is so. It is so real and so wrong!
When you ask senior experts about elder abuse, they assert that it is any intended action, reaction, or inaction—not doing anything to assist anyone in need, or withholding healthcare/medication—which can readily cause harm or threaten harm to seniors. Unfortunately, these assaults or bullying/abuse incidents usually come from individuals known to the senior, whether they are a family member, a health professional, or a care worker entrusted to look after the senior in question.
Do you think that elder abuse and bullying in seniors is a recent phenomenon? Actually, it is definitely not the case! For many decades in familial homes, nursing/retirement homes, hospitals, and long-term care facilities, these bullying shenanigans toward seniors have been going on for far too long. More cases of the victimization of seniors are being reported due to better screening, cell phones, and video cameras. Even though people are coming forward to try to intervene, it is still occurring. More people need to take an assertive stand and become difference makers when it comes to protecting aging family members… society’s treasures!
The most prevalent types of bullying and abuse seen in seniors are physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional/psychological abuse, sexual abuse, spiritual abuse, and less obvious incidents that include neglect and exploitation. Interestingly, the least obvious forms of abuse towards seniors are the most common, and they are doing the greatest harm to our elders.
Elder neglect is one of the most under-reported issues today. In the USA, elders are becoming the fastest growing population, and as this trend continues, they may also be the most neglected population as well. In their youth and prime, it was their intelligence, dreams, ideas and tax dollars that developed society for generations to come. Today, too many of them are the forgotten and unappreciated population in society, especially in light of elder neglect.
Do you suspect, or know of a senior who might be bullied or abused?
Well, it is time to step forward and be a difference-maker. You can help put an end to the abuse. As they say, “Get the facts Jack!”, by listening to the victim, or any witnesses. Get correct information before proceeding to the authorities. Be sure to have your loved one checked out for any physical injuries or potential mental health illness that may have occurred from the abuse. Report it and call the police. Elder abuse/bullying is a criminal offense!
It is also a great idea to take preventative measures if you are concerned about an older loved one being entrusted to others for either short or longer-term care. Have different adults who can be trusted checking in on them regularly to make sure that living conditions are safe and consistent.
No one should ever be a victim of bullying no matter how old they are. Everyone has a purpose on this earth. Life was meant to be enjoyed by everyone of every age, and not endured in fear!
Read more posts by JenningsWire Blogger Peter Sacco, an international lecturer on psychology/self-help related topics.
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