Elder Abuse

December 25, 2019 - By By Thomas E. Santarlas, Ph.D.

<p>Many of us still have parents or grandparents in our lives. These are the people that have raised us and provided love, nourishment, shelter, clothing and spiritual direction. They have molded us into the people we are today. As they age and enter the twilight of their lives, our family members require the same special attention that was afforded to us as we grew into adulthood. This is the period of their lives when they become physically, mentally and emotionally needy. As adult children of an elderly person, we have a moral obligation to care for them in a manner that is consistent with Canon Law. Doctrine and ideology are deeply rooted in all religious affiliations as they define the parameters of a belief system. Thus you will find volumes of sacred theoretical books of scripture outlining desired, if not mandatory human behaviors. Regardless of your religious denomination, we can all agree that elder abuse is most certainly a sin and definitely a criminal act.</p> <p>The abuse of an elderly person can occur in a number of different ways. The most common form is that of financial exploitation. This occurs when someone of trust uses the elder&rsquo;s assets in a manner inconsistent with their expectations or without a legally informed consent. A caregiver, family member or significant other may intentionally engage in this type of abuse through the misappropriation of funds in their care, control or custody. This criminal could also be psychologically abusing the elder through isolation and/or intimidation. Nobody likes to be sheltered from others or lose their independence. The thought of being exiled to a nursing home may seem like a life ending event for the senior. To avoid these outcomes, the victim simply gives-in and complies with the criminal&rsquo;s demands. Sometimes the elder is mentally incapable to distinguish between a scheming criminal and an honest caretaker. They never realize that their life&rsquo;s savings are slowing being siphoned by a wolf in sheep&rsquo;s clothing.</p> <p>Other forms of elder crimes include but are not limited to physical abuse, sexual abuse, and healthcare neglect. Elderly persons no longer possess the strength and stamina of their youthful counterparts. It is just a fact of life that your muscles and bone density weakens as you age. Force or the threat of force becomes the mainstay in a criminal&rsquo;s repertoire when victimizing persons over the age of sixty-five. They know it is unlikely that the elder will fight back or have the physical stamina to fend-off an attack. Thus, many seniors are intimidated, molested or actually beaten into submission and have limited or no means of reporting the abuse. The abuse will more than likely continue until someone from the outside intervenes.</p> <p>It is difficult to fathom any adult overpowering a child or senior citizen for personal gain. It is the most despicable of people who relish in the victimization of weak or helpless people. If you know of an elderly person being abused or even have the slightest inclination that abuse is occurring or has occurred, please call your local law enforcement agency and report it. You will sleep better at night and the needless suffering of an elderly person will stop! Helplessness is one of the worst feelings a person can endure. Get involved NOW!</p> <p>As we celebrate the holiday season, bear in mind that there are others that don&rsquo;t or cannot be joyous with us. The holidays are a difficult time for many people for a multitude of reasons. It can be rather depressing for those who are alone or feel as though nobody cares about them. Thus, suicide rates tend to escalate during this time of the year. So remember as you go about your busy day there are people among us that are on the edge and need help. A simple smile and polite word or two as you pass by may just save someone&rsquo;s life!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>