Elder abuse is everyone's problem

by s.tar on April 8, 2015 - 3:09pm

In today’s life, many seniors are put or decide to be put in hospitals, facilities or hire caretakers to be taken care of due to reasons such as extreme illness, loneliness or other rationales. It is disappointing to say but nowadays, the situation seems to be falling the opposite way as elder’s facing abuse is becoming a major issue. According to data, “between 1998 and 2005, the overall rate of police-reported violence against seniors increased 20%” (Ogrodnik 33). Since this is a controversial issue at the rise, the media has been covering this problem on the news and I believe it has been doing so successfully in an ethical way which will be discussed in this essay.

Already, the fact that elder abuse has been on a rise is dismaying but the matter that makes it even worse is that many times the violators creating these problems are the ones who are trusted by the victim and it’s family member which makes it very hard to avoid the situation to occur in the first place. One of the real life situation shown in the news that can be taken as an example is of Mr.Taylor, a 90 year old black man being physically attacked by a home caretaker for straight four days. The victim’s daughter reported: “the women [caretaker] sat in my dinning table everyday and supposedly read the bible” (Taylor). In the news, they show the violent video taken by the security camera the victim's daughter had installed in her house. I can admit the video is disturbing to watch. We observe the abuser hitting the victim on the arms, smacking the back of his head, hitting him on the temples and slapping his mouth. It is extremely saddening to see that while the culprit is doing so, the victim, who is a patient affected earlier in his life by two strokes, is lying there weak and unable to protect himself. If the news reporters had simply spoken about the issue of a man being abused by a home caretaker it most probably wouldn’t have affected us as much. As earlier, I must say that the video is rather unpleasant and it is shown over and over (4 times) but that is the reason of its efficacy bringing out sympathy as much as possible in us. After the beatings, Mr. Taylor has been faced to brain seizures and according to his daughter “her father’s health has deteriorated since then” (Taylor). This is an issue that is threatening to a person’s life which could eventually become many lives it is therefore, the media’s duty to engender awareness just the way it is and carry playing it’s role the ethical way. 

It seems like these days, the seniors aren’t fully secure at any place. Many of them suffer abuse in places such as elderly care homes and the most shocking fact is that the one abusing them are certified nurses. From the show “Panorama” on UK’s News channel BBC, the example that can be taken is of Jonathan Aquino, a certified nurse from the Philippines having a work permit to go work in the UK. Jonathan is the nurse who abused an elderly women named Maria Worroll kept under his care at Ash Court, an elderly care home. The victim’s daughter has mentioned in the video that she admitted her mother to that care home after seeing it rated excellent in the care quality commission (CQC). The daughter wanted for the her mother the care home she saw as “best” and let her mother be handled by people she assumed “professional”. Although, unfortunately, the current situation has come to the point where you can’t even trust the written words of an official organization such as CQC whose job is in fact to ensure that hospitals, care homes, general practices provide people with safe and effective care. If those aren’t the organizations and certified people we can trust then who can we actually keep trust in? Our loved ones can never be completely secure in the hands of outsiders even if those might seem reliable and that is the bitter truth the video manages to bring out ethically. It is ethical in the sense that there is elderly physical abuse that is occurring and according to our universal maxims, it is definitely wrong. Although, the whole society might not necessarily be aware of this issue and that is where the media comes in with videos like these unmasking violators and accomplishing, from a teleological perspective, it’s summum bonum of making different people aware each and every day that may be subject to action afterwards.

Finally, elderly abuse is a more problematic issue than we could think as being a senior, adult, youth or child of today, we are at risk or are prone of being in the future. We can’t deny that the media representations aren’t warning us which plausible reasons do we then have not to be on guard of protecting our beloveds and our own selves for the future? 


Works Cited 

Ogrodnik Lucie. “Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile 2007.” Statistics Canada. Web. 5 Apr. 2015. http://ywcacanada.ca/data/research_docs/00000041.pdf.

Woman Catches Caregiver Abusing Elderly Father. Youtube. 15 August 2007. Web. 5 April 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YEuivTYI64.

Panorama Undercover Elderly Care Part 1 of 2. Youtube. 31 March 2013. Web. 5 April 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulazCKOsFz8.

Panorama-Care Home Abuse. Youtube. 24 April 2012. Web. 5 April 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5hjHBtO-yY.


Elders may not have the capacity of knowing when someone is abusing them nor know how to stop the abuser of doing, which it becomes the responsibility of the elder’s surroundings to ensure security. Furthermore, abuse may not always be easily recognized such as videos as you mentioned, but there is often signs that proves some sorts of abuse. For example, is the suspected abuser dominating the elder, is there abnormal amounts of money that disappeared, and much more. Here is a link to many more ways to distinguish the abuser, and methods in doing so: http://www.healthinaging.org/resources/resource:preventing-elder-abuse-a...

Hello s.star, thanks to your article I learned that there is an increasing rate of elder abuse and how the media is trying to raise public awareness of the issue by the repetition of news coverage. I am very glad you have made the effort to show the positive usage of media coverage to discourage elder abuse because a lot of people are more distrustful than confident of the media’s ability to assume its social responsibility (including me). Although you did convince that in this case the media has well used its power to sensibilize the general public, but I’d still like to remind you that media is a double-edged sword which when wrongly employed can banalize violence, if not promoting violence. Here is an article on the other side of the sword.
Link to article: http://mentalhealth.about.com/library/sci/1102/blvoilence1102.htm

A very well-developed post on elder abuse.
The way you explained each point with necessary details and maintained a good balance between theory and practice is really commendable.
I highly appreciate your hard work for creating this post.
Thanks a bunch for sharing.
read my blog: http://www.madduxlaw.com/elder-abuse/

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