The neglect of the elderly is an extremely important issue in today’s society. The United States especially seem to treat their senior citizens with a severe lack of respect. In most foreign countries, the elderly are treated with the utmost respect. They are looked upon as the wisest person in their family. In today’s society, it seems as if people are more concerned with their own lives than the lives of those who raised them. This is why something needs to be done. Elderly neglect is a severe problem; one that does not seem to be getting any better.
So what do we do when our parents get to the age when they have difficulty taking care of themselves? It seems that the most popular solution is to put them in an adult care facility and let them be someone else’s problem. When babies are born, they cannot take care of themselves. Do parents send them to a baby care facility and let strangers take care of them? No, because that would be preposterous. We care for our children because they cannot are for themselves. Then why is it that when the elderly get to the point that they cannot take care of themselves, we send them off to be someone else’s burden? This makes absolutely no sense.
We as their children should be the ones taking care of them. We can ensure that they get the care they need. We would treat them with love and respect, something that they will not get in a facility. Adult homes, senior citizen centers, and assisted living facilities are all businesses. They are controlled by money. When money is tight, so is the care given to the senior citizens. The financial restraints result in the seniors not getting the attention they so desperately need. Some seniors cannot use the restroom without assistance, which sometimes results in them having to sit in their own filth until someone can help them. Imagine not being able to use the restroom by yourself and no one will help you.
You end up soiling yourself and you have to sit in your own disgust until the underpaid, overworked employee slopes into your room to unwillingly help clean you up. Is that how anyone should be treated? No, absolutely not. Adult care facilities also suffer from a high turnover rate, which breeds poor employees. These unqualified individuals hold the lives of our elderly in their hands. A prime example would be fast food employees. When you put an underdeveloped person in a high stress, low paying job, you are not going to get top notch service. You are going to find people with bad attitudes that give poor service. Over-stressed and under-qualified caregivers end up giving this same type of service.
This issue also tends to lead to elderly abuse, which is another major issue. But why do these people abuse the elderly? Even more puzzling is why do family members abuse the elderly? It was stated that “most perpetrators of abuse are caregivers who have some history of mental illness or substance abuse, and who are economically dependent on the older adult that they are supposed to be caring for” (Garrett, 2013, para.3). Why do we as a society treat these seasoned individuals with such a lack of respect? I can only imagine that part of the problem is the frustration of the system in place at these businesses. The disgruntled workers take out their frustrations on the seniors.
This lack of caring also results in the seniors not being fed properly, which can ultimately lead to severe medical conditions or death. The facilities are not the main problem. The main issue is that people have lost respect for one another. Everyone is so wrapped up in their own lives that they could care less about anyone else. Elderly neglect would improve if we as a society would recognize the importance of supporting and cherishing all things, old and new.
Garrett, M. (2013, April 27). Elder abuse. Psychology Today. Retrieved July 24, 2013, from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/iage/201304/elder-abuse
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