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Elder Abuse Epidemic

By brian barrick
April 12, 2012

Elder abuse has reached epidemic proportions in the United States.  Due to social isolation, mental and physical impairment, elders are more vulnerable than others.  Locations of abuse are many and include the home, nursing homes, assisted living facilities or the public.  Due to the occasionally stressful demands of caregivers for the elderly, caregivers sometimes find relief in taking advantage of someone that is more vulnerable.

 Of the vast array of expenses that confront your organization, the most devastating are abuse, molestation, and sexual misconduct.  It can occur between staff and clients, volunteers and clients, clients and clients, and clients and the public.  It knows no physical or age barriers.

Like any other exposure, controls leading towards its prevention and management can be created and implemented.  Such sophisticated activities, performed by a professional agency, can only act in the best interest of service to clients; the ultimate goal of the organization.

 The short and long term emotional and physical effects of abuse, molestation and sexual misconduct on clients are obvious and devastating.  The short and long term effects on the organization are less obvious, but extremely devastating, nonetheless.

 As with any general safety issue, the problem needs to be clearly identified.  In this case, it is abuse and/or molestation, including related misconduct.  Next, the statement, prevention activities, and control techniques must be implemented.  Implementation involves written procedures and tangible activities.

9 Replies to “Elder Abuse Epidemic”

  1. Reblogged this on where'smyT-backandotherstories and commented:
    From the blog of Brian Barrick. I like to bring into the light what we in Geriatrics consider as the ‘silent epidemic’. Elder Abuse is a reality even in so called societies that put premium on older persons. Cultural norms are evolving and sometimes values are eroded.

      1. I am with you in this Brian, among other issues that plague the still marginalized subset of the population, the older persons.

        Best regards,


    1. I know what you mean. This is such a sad topic and it is unfortunate that this happens. At least we are aware that elder abuse can occur, so we can form plans of prevention or respond appropriately if actions need to be taken.

  2. It is so sad that we feel we have the right to push our elderly to the fringes of society considering everything they’ve given us. We should have nothing but respect. As a brand new mother of a 4-month-old I am now getting a taste of just how difficult is is to care 24/7 for someone who is totally dependent on you and it is extremely demanding. However, our parents all did that for us, and I feel like we owe them that kind of care in return when they are old.

    1. That’s a great point! We literally would not be where we are at today without the people of our past. The elderly populations worked hard to build us, so we now must return the favor to them.

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