After reading the article, Elder Abuse and Neglect in Latino Families, I have a much better understanding of what elder abuse really means. When I think about the word abuse, the first representation that comes to mind is a violent beating of some sort and not so much mental abuse. This article mainly focuses on the mental abuse that many elderly Latinos go through each day. After reading this article I have a much better understanding of what elder abuse essentially is.
I completely agree with the arguments that this article puts forward about elder abuse and to me it makes a lot of sense now how so many elderly individuals are abused. One of the many arguments mentioned in the article is the lack of recognition of cultural identity differences. The article says “Lack of recognition within family cultural identity differences may lead to emotional neglect, particularly if the cultural needs of the elderly are overlooked or minimized. ” Often times when Latino families migrate to the United States, the younger generations start their own separate lives apart from their Latino traditions.
In the mean time their elderly parents are at home trying to hold on to their traditional lifestyle. While everyone else is becoming more “Americanized” the elderly still wants to engage in a traditional Latino lifestyle. They have lived their whole life accustom to a certain cultural and they often feel that the people around them are forgetting that culture. The article states that elderly Latinos saw the United States as a “country of opportunities for younger people, but not a place to grow old, because old people are not respected and valued.
I can completely understand how these elderly people feel as if they have been pushed to the back burner. It would make me depressed if I relocated to a new country with my family and all the sudden my kids were so caught up in their own lives that it seemed they had got forgotten about me and the culture I loved. What adds to this is many Latino elders only have their families to rely on. So many times they do not have a way of communicating with others so they keep to themselves. A major issue with these elders is the language barrier.
So many times they come to the United States and do not learn English due to wanting to keep their traditional values. This increases their sense of isolation and eventually could lead to other mental health issues. This requires them to rely on more and more on their caregivers for their social needs. The problem is that so many times the caregivers are immigrants who are working low paying, high demanding jobs with extreme working hours. This just adds to the stress and it can only make the situation worse.
If the caregiver is gone all day and comes home exhausted from work it would make it easier for that person the just blow off the elderly which eventually leads to abuse and neglect. Lastly, when it comes to healthcare many Latinos have barriers preventing them from receiving the treatment that they need. Reports show that Latinos are much more likely to being disrespected or discriminated against than others. This causes them to not want to seek out medical treatment because it puts distrust in medical providers when this happens.
If I were to go to a doctor and I felt as if I was being discriminated against there is now way that I would want to go back. As a matter of fact I would not want to go to any doctor if that is how I felt I was going to be treated. Another barrier is that they fear being deported if they were to report abuse. This causes them to have to suffer in silence because they do not want to deal with the immigrations system. If I was not a legal resident of the US then I would try to stay as low key as possible and by reporting abuse would only draw attention that would likely lead to deportation.
It’s understandable why they do not report these types of things because it would just bring more of a burden to their life. I can see now much more clearly how elderly abuse can easily happen. I think that is article makes very good arguments about elderly abuse in the Latino community and how it happens. Many factors can cause elderly abuse and I think that they were all stated very clearly in this article. It make a lot more sense to me now how these Latino people are put into these situations and so many times nothing is done to help them.
Courtney from Study Moose
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