This article focuses on elder abuse. Who is the abuser? What are the types of abuse? Why does the elderly accept abuse? What must I do if I suspect an elderly person is abused?
Who is the abuser? What does the person look like that abuses the elderly?
The elderly is mostly abused by a person with whom they have a close relationship - more often than not it includes a spouse, child, brother, sister or caregiver.
Types of abuse and how it can be identified
- Physical abuse - Any action that cause physical injury or discomfort.
- Sexual abuse - Any form of sexual contact or exposure without the consent and / or full knowledge of the elderly person.
- Financial abuse - Coercing money or attaining of assets without the full knowledge, consent or willingness of the elderly person.
- Psychological / emotional abuse - Any actions that leads to emotional anxiety or suffering by the elderly person.
- Neglect - The withholding of care and basic necessities for physical and emotional well being of the elderly person.
Why does the elderly accept abuse and not report?
- They are ashamed of what happened to them;
- They feel helpless and powerless and do not know what to do;
- They don't want to cause trouble for the offender that is frequently a family member;
- They frequently rely on the offender (financial, housing, care);
- Fear for institutionalising;
- Fear for consequences of disclosure; and
- Afraid of the offender.
What must I do if I suspect an elderly person is abused?
Contact a social worker: Reporting can by anonymous;
- Pretoria and surrounding areas: Pretoria Care for the Aged - 012 542 2805;
- Halt Elder Abuse Line (National): 0800 003 081; and
- Report to your local police station under the Domestic Violence Act.