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Monday, March 14, 2016

Types of elder abuse and why it often goes unreported

A number of years ago, I took part in a panel on CPAC that discussed elder abuse. During the show, we became aware of the case of an elderly man who lived with his only remaining relative, his nephew. The living arrangements were, to say the least, unsuitable. The nephew was apparently an alcoholic who became violent when he drank. He regularly beat up his uncle.

A social worker became aware of the situation and tried her best to persuade the uncle to move to a senior's living facility where he would be safe from physical and emotional abuse by the nephew. However, the man refused to move. He stated that he would prefer to stay where he was and suffer the beatings than to move to a place where he might be worse off.

This story has really stuck with me. To picture this elderly man being beaten up regularly but feeling that he had no viable options makes me cringe. I can only imagine his helplessness, isolation, and fear. It's a vivid illustration of why elder abuse often goes unreported - because the senior is afraid that intervention and change will make things even worse. It saddens and upsets me every time I think about it.

Toronto lawyer Ian Hull has a new post about the various types of elder abuse that exist, and he speculates as to why it so often goes unreported. Check out his post by clicking here. It's a complex issue with no simple answer, but information and awareness are a start.

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