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What can we do to stop Elder abuse in and among the Elderly

Updated on January 21, 2016

Where is the respect

When we are young, we are taught to respect our elders and yet there is still elder abiuse.

It is estimated there are 3.5 million cases each year directed at elder abuse. It is an outrage. We must put a stop to this in our society, when our elderly are no longer respected and ignored. Where are the children?

Personally I find this disrespect is such a dishonor to God and the family, it just disgusts me.

I realize these are strong words but the actions taken by others who misuse their power should be held accountable.

There are many types of elder abuse from physical and emotional, to neglect and abandonment. Taking advantage of an elder’s funds or assets is also considered a form of elder abuse.

Neglect can take on many forms, such as the refusal or failure to provide for life’s provisions (shelter, food, or clothing for example).


Mickey Rooney's story

Mickey Rooney, a well-known child actor from late 1930s, recently appeared before congress about elder abuse.

Embarrassed and ashamed he spoke out against elder abuse in a hope to bring stronger laws. In raising awareness and to fight elder abuse, he described his own personal abuse. Financially robbed by his stepson, Mickey Rooney shared his painful story. For 20 years family members misused his money, he was neglected and spoken to without any respect. Many times left without food, he claimed to have had several of his personal treasures stolen.

Hoping other seniors would come forward this special committee in Congress listened to Mr. Rooney describe his abuse. His personal testimony was heartbreaking to watch. He said he wanted to let others know it's nothing to be ashamed about and they were not alone in this situation.

Last September, Mr. Rooney turned 90 years young. In February of this year, he was granted a temporary restraining order against his stepson, before he appeared before the U.S Senate. Featured in countless movies, Mickey Rooney is probably best known for his role in the movie, “Boys Town.” Filmed in 1938 starring Spencer Tracy (who won the Oscar for his role), this movie won the Academy Award for Best Writing of Original Story.

But did he win the war?

My reaction to this story shook my inner soul. It took me back to those years of caring for my aging mother.

Families need to help each other

Caregiving should be held in high regard

A dear friend of mine was complaining one day about caring for her aging mother. She vented about having to take her ailing mom to therapy twice a week. She wished she could just go back to work. Her friends also chimed in, they would take their mom anywhere to not have to work.

Others replied, welcome to my world. It may have been a venting session, but for me it was deeply upsetting.

I wish I could take my mom to therapy. I would do anything to be able to do that again. The comments made by her friends stirred up many emotions.

I was trying not to judge them, because the battles I faced were mine alone.

A right way to Care

Caring for an aging parent is difficult. As my mother’s strokes became more pronounced, her dementia became stronger. When a parent can no longer care for themselves due to whatever reason, choices have to be considered. I tried to care for mom in my home.

After the strokes, she was unable to care for herself and she needed help getting around. Driving her to an adult day care each morning when I went to work because she couldn’t be home alone.

Moving a parent into a nursing home or an assisted living facility is not an easy choice but I did my homework.

Checking out each facility before reaching any decision, I took mom with me. She had to check them out as well.

If she felt uncomfortable, we discussed it and looked elsewhere.

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities live under strict government regulations. While many are short staffed, the needs of the elderly become unmet.

With the rising cost of health-care and a demand for stricter laws, seniors get left out. It is our responsibility as the grown child to care for our aging parents. If we are unable to provide home health care, we are responsible to be their advocate.

When my mom was sent to the hospital, I went too. I talked to the doctors, the nurses, the caregivers. I kept a watchful eye. I heard the stories of elder abuse; this was not going to happen to my mother. I became her spokesperson, her guardian, her trusted friend, and I was not afraid. I did what any loving daughter would do. I cannot say it was easy.

There were many difficult days, struggles I faced and guilt over choices I made, but I knew my mom. I listened to her. I understood her. I never wanted her to feel ashamed or embarrassed.

Parents don’t want to be looked after. They want the responsibility to care for themselves. They don’t want to see their children suffer and many times they will not ask for help. Sometimes they will refuse help, thinking they can do it alone.

Who is responsible?

Our society is rich with the amount of help that is available. The health-care industry has a lot of work to do.

By increasing the accountability and responsibilities of the industry to provide additional training and support for caregivers who look after our aging parents, maybe some of this abuse can be eradicated.

There are many laws already in place, maybe these laws need to be stricter in governing these establishments.

Lawyers settle lawsuits, hospitals are cautious, and nursing homes have strict guidelines, but who takes responsibility?

Preventing elder abuse has to be a joint effort between adult children, government agencies, and local housing or care facilities.

This must stop now.

We need to make a difference in the lives of seniors. The ones who fought for our country, the ones who gave us life, the ones who should be deeply respected, they need support, and their voices need to be heard.

Knowing my mom, I knew when something was true or when something was a story she made up. She didn’t create stories to tell falsehoods, she told stories her brain was recalling from past experiences. Dementia can do that to a person but that does not give consent to abuse.

We talk about the problems, but do we offer solutions?

I don’t have all the answers. All I know is what I did to protect my mom.

And I knew I couldn’t do it alone.

I look down at my hands; I’m reminded of my mother.

My hands look like hers.

She is gone now and my heart weeps.

Additional Resources on Elder Care

National Center on Elder Abuse by the US Administration on Aging

A Place for Mom is one of the nation’s largest elder referral services that offer free advice. I found them most helpful during my research.

Statewide Departments on Aging can also be a tremendous resource in finding information as well as in reporting elder abuse. The regulations and the guidelines which must be followed by Assisted Living Facilities and Nursing Homes are explained and illustrated on these sites.

The Wikipedia Story on Mickey Rooney: On February 16, 2011, Rooney was granted a temporary restraining order against Christopher Aber, 52, Rooney's stepson. Aber is the son of Rooney's eighth wife, Jan Chamberlin.On March 2, 2011 Rooney appeared before a special U.S. Senate committee that was considering legislation to curb senior abuse. Rooney stated that he was financially abused by an unnamed family member.


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      heartbroken 6 years ago

      WARNING never leave an elder in a nursing home or hospital by themselves even if it seems like a nice one. Especially if the loved one has any kind of memory problems.Or they are recovering from something that is affecting their memory. They will most likely be given deadly drugs such as haldol and often they will be forced to die or become disabled in one way or another. There are little tricks of the trade that the medical staff can do to lead a person to their death or disable them. One thing is they give these deadly narcotic drugs and then tell the family that their loved one is deteriorating and getting dementia or more dementia. They blame everything on old age or if a person has medical problems they can blame it on that also. The hospital and nursing home staff can pretend like they are treating skin issues that the elder has do to dry skin etc,when in reality the elder may have an infection such as yeast that they got from the hospital.Then they can give the wrong medication that makes the infection worse. It can spread to other parts of the body. This can eventually lead to sepsis or sepsis shock.However if the staff does their job it can be treated even in sepsis shock when the patient is dying. The elder patient can still be saved.Always make sure the elder is getting their medication if they need it.See to it for yourself, do not trust the staff when they tell you that the patient is getting their meds. Do not let the staff tell you that the patient is dying due to old age or illness do your homework and find out what meds should be given to save the patient.See to it that everything is done that needs to be done. Make sure that they treat all skin problems and other problems and get drs opinions even if you have to take the patient out of town make sure the problem is treated. We were told when our loved one started having a irregular heart beat that it was old age that caused it. No it was not from old age it was from the deadly haldol and other psychosomatic drugs. Every time she would get those drugs she would get health issues.The medical staff does not only ignore elders but they can ignore anyone in the hospital that is helpless and who they do not feel like treating. If the trusted person who the loved one is with feels like the hospital or facility is not doing their job then I would call the police. If an elder is dying from sepsis shock from a candidiasis (yeast infection) see to it that it is being properly treated. With anti fungal ivs and lasix. (water retention ) if in sepsis shock etc know the medicine so you know what is going on. Learn everything you can so you will not be tricked by the medical staff. Never depend on or trust the medical staff to do their job properly. The relatives need to make sure that the medical staff does their job. I wish I would have called the police and got some help so then our loved one could have survived the abuse that the medical field gave her. She is no longer with us because of this atrocious abuse. They had to work very hard to kill her since she was so strong and healthy and quite a fighter. They still managed to kill her. If only they would have worked a little to treat her skin yeast infection from the start and never gave her deadly drugs. Then she would be happy in her home alive and well. It is too late for our loved one but hopefully others will not have to suffer the horrendous pain that our family will continue to suffer for many years to come from this senseless killing. How can one get over that kind of pain. She was the kindest woman you can even imagine. How could this have ever been allowed to happen to such a person as her or anyone? The abuse must be stopped because hospital and nursing home abuse does take innocent lives.

    • profile image

      memas 6 years ago

      We need to stand up for all people who are bullied not only teens and other kids but also elders. There are elders who are being taken away from their homes for no reason even when they have all the help that they need at home.Even if they are not elder orphans (meaning that their families have abandoned them and they are not able to care of themselves at home) They are forced into these nursing home prisons and all their money is taken from them. They will not even give them any money to buy a soda at a soda machine. All their life savings is taken from them to pay for this prison like atmosphere. They are thrown into nursing care where they are forced to live in beds and wheel chairs and diapers. These are people who use the bathroom on their own and walk on their own yet they are being forced into these nursing homes so they can live like prisoners and more than likely they will be killed by deadly drugs that under no circumstances are supposed to be given to elders. The medicine that they may need is often not given so they can be on these deadly drugs instead.(such as Haldol) Then they can be sent to the hospital to be given more deadly drugs to disable them. The more disabled the more money the home makes.We need to stand up and fight for all people who are bullied. This is happening in California and the rest of the U.S.A. and the world. This should not be tolerated

    • FaithDream profile image

      FaithDream 6 years ago from (Midwest) USA

      Thanks Tina appreciate your comments, they are encouraging.

      Elder abuse is an outrage. If anything like that had happened to my mom, I don't know what I would have done. It brings me to tears to see that this is happening. I pray families will stick together and be the parent's advocate.

      These parents had raised their children wouldn't it be wise to show that same respect. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • TINA V profile image

      TINA V 6 years ago

      I’m sorry to hear about the lost of your mom. It’s nice that you’ve shared your experience with your readers. This is a beautiful hub campaign to stop elder abuse. I agree with you; the families, government and nurse care agencies should join together in caring for our seniors. Although, it is more advisable that children and immediate relatives should really do the first move. Just imagine ourselves growing old and nobody wants to take care of us or somebody might abuse us. It’s quite scary, isn’t it? I hope that your hub would be an eye-opener to everyone who has parents or elders who need attention. This is our chance to show our love to them. Thumbs up to your hub!

    • FaithDream profile image

      FaithDream 6 years ago from (Midwest) USA

      Thanks for sharing your experience here Christine. You are so right that even though your mother is in the hands of nursing care, you still need to be involved. You bring up some good points.

      Glad your mom is happy too. You are blessed. Give mum a hug. :)

    • Christine P Ann profile image

      Christine P Ann 6 years ago from Australia

      My family had to make the difficult decision to move our mum (when she was 85, she is now 95) to a nursing home as we were unable to give her the adequate care she deserved. She is very well looked after and is happy with her new "home" she has visitors almost every day and I believe this is the key to ensuring their happiness and well being as well as finding out if their level of care is up to standard.If we keep a watchful eye on those entrusted with caring for our elderly, they dare not put a foot wrong. Another great hub!! love your writing.

    • FaithDream profile image

      FaithDream 6 years ago from (Midwest) USA

      It is an outrage Neil. Totally unacceptable and tragic as well.

    • profile image

      Neil Butterfield  6 years ago

      Anyone who abuses the elderly in any way, shape or form should be punished in the severest manner possible. It is unacceptable to do this especially to your parents or grandparents.

    • FaithDream profile image

      FaithDream 6 years ago from (Midwest) USA

      Assisted Living for Elderly you are so correct. I agree with you. Why any child would not participate in the welfare of their elderly parents, I cannot understand.

      However, the adult child cannot do this alone, they must rely on healthcare professionals, a team of doctors and nurses, as well as the caregivers in these assisted living faciities. It is a team effort and being involved with a parent's healthcare, the child will become the advocate. The child must have strong involvement and lead the care for their aging parent.

    • profile image

      Assisted Living for Elderly 6 years ago

      Parents are very great people.They care for their children without any kind of expectations.In fact they just love their kids in the best possible way they can.Therefore it is the responsibility of the kids to take care of their parents when they need them.

    • FaithDream profile image

      FaithDream 6 years ago from (Midwest) USA

      Thanks Tkumah for sharing your thoughts.

      It is very sad and it is an outrage. Their voices need to be heard so I wrote this as a cry out for help. The elderly should be respected not abused.

    • Tkumah profile image

      Tkumah 6 years ago

      Unfortunately many people abuse power and authority given to them as care takers. Not only the elderly is abused but the disabled and the sick/helpless. Personally it frightens me to see how many people nowadays lack feelings for another.

      Thank you for sharing such a growing concern about abuse. I noticed that most people shy away from topics like that and it is sad.

      If you believe in souls then your mother is with you always.

      Thanks again for such an informative hub.

    • FaithDream profile image

      FaithDream 6 years ago from (Midwest) USA

      Thanks revmjm. I appreciate your advice. This article was very emotional for me. I must have cried an ocean of tears on this one. It is heart wrenching that anyone would abuse their elders.

      My heart goes out to those families who have suffered from any of this.

    • revmjm profile image

      Margaret Minnicks 6 years ago from Richmond, VA

      I recently saw a report about elder abuse on the news. Mickey Rooney was interviewed and cried because of his abuse. Suggestion: You might want to use your NEWS capsule and see what other recent stories will come up.

    • FaithDream profile image

      FaithDream 6 years ago from (Midwest) USA

      Thank you Donna. I appreciate you stopping by and commenting.

    • Donna Suthard profile image

      Donna Suthard 6 years ago

      wonderful, and well written..We just need to love more in this world..