Abuse Of The Elderly And Disabled
She is nearing 50 years and has been disabled for the past 10 and 1/2 years. She suffers from mental illnes and physical disabilities. These should be her golden years but they are far from it. Due to circumstances beyond her control, she is in a relationship filled with both mental, physical, and verbal abuse. Today she only sports a busted lip and a few bruises, other times it has been ribs and cuts from various things he could find in his reach to hurt her with. He has choked her, slapped her, pulled her hair out and destroyed her things. There is no one there to help her and no where for her to go. On her meger disability income she does not make enough to have her own place, she has no family and no friends due to the isolation he has kept her in for the past 6 years.
Even though she has home nurses and doctors, they always assume that the cuts and brusies are form the various falls she invents to explain them away. She never tells them the truth since it would mean adult foster care or a nursing home, neither of which she knows are good choices. So it remains her own silent secret. He takes her social security check and any other money she might have. It is his way of keeping total and complete control.
Physical and elderly abuse have become an increasing social problem and one that is rarely reported or prosecuted unless it ends in the death of the person. The Department of Aging and Disability sends social workers to investigate when a report is made but often the victim is too afraid to cooperate.
The abuse can be by a family member, a nursing home, a home health aide or a person in the relationship with the person. The abuse can range from slapping, pinching, hitting, to withholding food or medications to even more serious abuse that can result in severe bodily injury to the victim.
Many times the victim is an abused parent, by a grownup child who is overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for an aging parent. Other times a facility or a licensed home responsible for the care of the disabled or elderly, these facilities recieve funding from the government but investigations have shown high levels of abuse and neglect. In one such facility when the investigators showed up the owner chained the doors locked, refused entry to the police and refused to identify himself until Federal Marshals had to be called. Upon entering the facility they discovered the walls covered with feces, urine all over the floor and the residents dirty, unbathed and wandering around taking care of themselves while the staff laughed, talked and ignored them. This facility is still open. Another facility, called a adult living facility, where the home owner recieves the checks of the residents who reside there in exchange for shelter, food and clothing, was found with deadbolts locked and the residents who had been there for four weeks alone with no food or heat in the middle of the winter. The owner was never found. These squalid conditions exist all over, children locking their parents or a disabled child in a closet or basement and living with toture, and worst conditions.
It is a horrid and disconcerting fact that such a thing could happen in a Country such as the United States and go unchecked. The generations of older americans who have worked their whole life and now instead of basking in their retirement years in the sunshine on a beach in Florida, they live in less than humane conditions and are ignored by the general public. Their plight obviously invisible to the majority.
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