Elder Abuse and Neglect

The Varying Byproduct and Impact of Abuse

This paper explores the various impacts and influences aging and neglect has on elder individuals. Literature review and studies conducted and led by researchers have revealed the psychological, physical, and medical consequences the aforementioned factors contribute to a person. The paper reveals the incidence of depression and dementia in those who are progressing with age and neglected. As well, such victims are at an increased risk of mortality and undergo both, notions and acts of suicidal behavior, along with social isolation and malnutrition. The aforementioned byproducts of aging and neglect lend a hand to a person's overall mental and physical health, and well being.

Elder Abuse and Neglect:

The Varying Byproduct and Impact of Abuse

William Sydney Porter once wrote, "...old age may give and give, but the sorrow remains the same." Porter is conveying how the expense of continuing to live day-to-day is experiencing the same things over and over, and the expectancy of death looms nearer. Unfortunately, dying is not the only thing seniors have to fear, but also the incidence of abuse and neglect. Such act comes in numerous forms, ranging from physical, sexual, emotional, or financial abuse. In particular, neglect can be inflicted by the individual him or herself, or by someone else. It is the denial and refusal of food, refuge, security, and care, all of which influences and impacts the elder psychologically, physically, and medically.

Psychological Impact

Psychologically, abuse and neglect affects elders by causing a slew of mental and emotional problems. It should be no surprise when the necessities and tools, for example, meals and health care aren't supplied to the elder; they exhibit notions of abandonment, depression and/or dementia. A study led by Dyer (2000), it revealed the presence of depression and dementia was high in those who were abused or neglected and mistreated. In his investigation, the abused had a higher scoring on a fifteen-point geriatric depression scale than those who were not victims. In Dyer's (2000) investigation, he found the former group scored a 5.6 while the latter group scored a 3.8. Depression is the most frequent disorder influencing the livelihood of the older demographic, and leads to other dysfunctions such as being unable to make decisions or judgments with clarity. Such circumstance explains why elders self-neglect by refusing medical aid or daily help. Depression culminates notions of powerlessness and pessimism, guilt, and lonesomeness.

Emotional Impact

Emotionally, victims respond and react to the abuse and neglect with feelings of denial, repudiation, fury, and despondency. As well, he or she may be stressed, scared, worried, and in agony. The individual may harbor feelings of discouragement, apathy, and loss of appetite. Abused and depressed victims possess low self-esteem because they blame themselves for the abuse and neglect, which in turn makes them vulnerable to acts of suicide and other self-destructive actions. A study led by McIntosh (1988) revealed men in their eighties possessed the highest rates of taking their own life. The state of depression and unhappiness from abuse and neglect may result in suicide, which has doubled for elders than other ages. The level of success has been extremely high for those over sixty-five, especially for men while the occurrences for females are on the rise, too.

In a study led by Cooney (1995), the investigation recorded 17% to 87% of elders, who suffer from depression and are abused or neglected, also suffer from dementia. The diagnosed window is so wide because in some instances it goes underreported, and especially unreported when the individual themselves don't know they are exhibiting symptoms of the disorder. Dementia is a byproduct of elder abuse and neglect, which causes reduced cognitive, physical, and executive abilities. Cooney (1995) reported 51% of elders who were abused and neglected developed the disorder compared to 30% of those who weren't victimized but also suffered from the condition.

Physical Impact

Physically, those who are abused and neglected influence the rate of their morality and morbidity. In a study led by Dong (2009), it was revealed the rates of death for those who reported self-neglect for the first year, out of one hundred people, was 270.36. However, the rate of deaths, out of the same number of individuals, after the first year, was 9.46. The investigation showed the risk of mortality was especially high for those who were abused and neglected during the first year. The risk of death increased during the first year for mild self-neglect with a hazard ratio of 4.71, 5.87 for moderate self-neglect, and 15.47 for severe neglect, which was noted by Dong (2009). Elder self-neglect is associated with a significant increased risk of death, which is consistent for all cognitive and physical levels. The mortality rates for those were who abused and neglected were three times higher than non-victims. Unfortunately, for the elderly who were admitted to the hospital, MacMillan's (1966) study showed worsening conditions, and they quickly degenerated. Such individuals had a mortality rate of 50% over the course of four years. Shields led an investigation regarding the morbidity and mortality of those who were abused and neglected. A study revealed 81.8% of victims' sustained physical injuries, such as cuts and bruises, while 95.4% of such cases showed the elders had decubitus ulcers, which was recorded by Shields (2004).

Medical Impact

Medically, those who were abused and neglected suffered progressive and gradual reduction in health. In Dong's (2009) study, it showed 13% of victims more likely to develop coronary artery disease. As well, it was revealed they were at an increased risk for health problems like neuropsychiatric, endocrine or metabolic, and neoplasm-related deaths. There were reported cases that showed elder self-neglect led to and caused fractures, organ failure, severe nutritional deficiencies, metabolic abnormalities, and undiagnosed advanced cancer, which are all associated with high mortality risk. Victims often experienced and conveyed feelings of being distressed, insecure about their poor health due to the abuse and neglect. Mouton and Espino (1999) found that older patients visited and used emergency medical services at twice the rate of other age groups. They are also often hospitalized and a study conducted by Lachs (1998) revealed those who are abused and neglected ended in hospital admission reported it more than 30% of emergency room visits. They were ushered in because they endured desiccation, fatigue, fragmentations or a failure to flourish. After hospitalization, they experienced an increase in lack of enthusiasm, apathy, incontinence, and frequency of accidents like falling.

Discussion

The aging process is an uneasy one, especially with the frequent incidences that contribute to one's declining health, which are unpreventable. However, what can be inhibited is the actions inflicted upon another person, in particular, the mistreatment of elders. Unfortunately, the geriatric demographic are often the targets of abuse and neglect, which results in meeting basic needs, such as food or shelter or medical attention, in a lackluster manner. The aforementioned causes have particular impacts, and affect the lives of elders psychologically, physically, and medically. In a psychological fashion, such victims often fall into a state of depression and/or dementia. The rates of experiencing notions of sadness, distress, desperation, isolation, and unhappiness are significantly higher than those who were not abused or neglected. Physically, the rate of mortality is remarkably on the rise for the abused and neglected by being very successful on the suicide front, along with suffering contusions and lacerations. Medically, the elder victims are more prone and at an increased risk for various health problems, such as heart failure, malnutrition, loss of enthusiasm in things they do, and just a reduced interest to live because of their unfortunate circumstance. Overall, the elderly who are abused and neglected suffer serious ramifications like McAlpine (2008) noted, "...emotional distress, loss of self-confidence and self-esteem, depression, attempts at suicide and self-harm, social…