The Association for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (TAPEA) last Friday joined the rest of the world to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
Elder abuse is globally a factor affecting different settings worldwide.
It is a growing social concern but is not new, and too many elder Africans have suffered abuse and neglect in hands of family members and caregivers for too many years, organizers say.
Elder abuse is a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.
These factors do not usually operate in isolation instead, tend to function as complex dimensions, interacting in ways uniquely depend on the perpetrator and situation.
“Most abuse is committed by someone the elderly person knows, such as a family member, friend, caregiver, land -lord or care provider.”
Other form of elder abuse is complex as stated earlier, that one is easy to form misconception about.
For many, the term “Elder Abuse” diminished individuals living in nursing homes. It might bring to mind that neglected seniors who lives all alone without care or relatives dropping by for a visit. While these images do fall within the range of Elder Abuse, it is not just a problem of elderly people living on the margins of everyday life.
Elder Abuse can happen to any elderly person regardless of cultural or ethnic groups, physical or mental health and socio-economic group. “Especially long term caring for an elderly person can cause a great deal of stress. In circumstance, where by family members find themselves in the role of caregiver out of sense of duty or pressure. Whatever their motives, caregivers can experience feelings of resentment, frustration or anger. While in some other cases caregivers are simply not able to cope with this stress and react in inappropriate ways that may lead to abuse or neglect. This is especially true if adequate support for the caregiver is not in place.
The Association for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (TAPEA) firmly believes that focus on awareness, access to resources and prevention will not only protect the health and wellbeing of elderly person.
Creating such awareness programme of activities through different forms of public sensitisation will be an effective means to disseminate preventive measures which can bring about attitudinal change in our various settings, where elder abuse is in existence.
Finally we are kindly urging all and sundry to become partakers towards this noble initiative, let us remember that elderly people are our custodians cream in our society and culture as ageing is everyone’s future.