Yesterday we talked about William Mapother’s new film.
Today? He’s written a story for the Huffington Post about elder abuse and you should read it:
As part of its mission to protect older Americans, the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging held a hearing this past March on the issue of elder abuse. Toward the end of the hearing, Senator Wyden (D-OR), a veteran on the issue, asked each of the seven guest panelists what, aside from funding, was most needed to fight the problem.
Among their answers were increased federal leadership and research, multidisciplinary teams, and support for Adult Protective Services. There is one answer that the panelists didn’t give, however, and it’s not one government can easily address: help combating ageism. This social and cultural undercurrent, endemic and even conspiratorial, not only implicitly tolerates elder abuse, but also actually compounds it.
The term was coined in the late 1960s, and its original usage referred specifically to discrimination against the elderly. Although still used for that purpose, the word — and America’s concept of age-based prejudice — has since also taken on a much wider meaning. The result is that ‘ageism’ is now applied to a much broader variety of groups and circumstances.
Countless adults are victims of abuse through self-neglect, and institutional abuse often receives the most media attention; however, by far the most common abusers of the elderly are family members, especially spouses and adult children. The low reporting rate of elder abuse therefore makes unfortunate sense: Victims would often prefer to endure the abuse rather than risk the loss of independence, being removed from their family, or possibly being forced to move into a nursing home.
Click here to read the entire piece.