Old age can make one the most vulnerable person on earth, it can make you cry like a baby, and demand like a teenager. This is why governments all over the world have taken it upon themselves to protect these set of people in the society through various legislative laws that protect them against any form of abuse from society.
There have been some notable forms of abuse which range from physical abuse, Neglect, financial exploitation, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, e.t.c. But among these forms of elder abuse, there are common ones, they are the most common types of elder abuse in nursing homes in our society today, and it has attracted a lot of lawsuits from the victims themselves or their families. One of abuse is called “Physical Abuse”.
Physical Abuse on an elder is defined as the use of force on an elder which most of the time may result in physical pain, impairment, or bloody injury. In situations like this, actions such as hitting, shaking, slapping, or kicking can lead to physical abuse, the worse part of it is mostly death as a result of the excruciating pain from the injury. It doesn’t end there, other forms of physical abuse also include rough-handling, restriction of movement, or a violent threat.
On many occasions, there have been reports of some nurses assigned in old people’s home restricting an elder from seeing their families, or friends without any tangible reason. Most of the time, they do this to prevent them from witnessing any form of physical abuse previously meted on them. Sometimes they carry out this act by administering some medication that restricts their movement.
Some of the Basic Signs a Physical abuse Includes:
- Broken Bones
This happens when the caregiver didn’t properly guide the elder either while going to the bathroom or outside their safe zone. As a trained nurse for the elderly, they should understand that elders left in their care should constantly be watched over. But due to neglect, these vulnerable set of people can slip and fall, thus, breaking one of their bones.
This happens when the nurse out of carelessness inflicts physical injury on these people left under their care. These cuts can come from carelessly shaving their hair, striking, pushing, or kicking them.
Bruises come through hitting on hard surfaces. The hard surface can be a fist, floor, wall of e.t.c. So the commonest way an elder can sustain a bruise could be through a hard fall or a violent physical attack from any of the nurses.
- Tooth Loss
Just like the other, tooth loss happens when there is a hard fall that made the elder hit the mouth on the floor. Most of the time it could also be a result of a violent physical attack by any of the staff from the set people’s facility.
- Dislocated Joints
This happens when the said elder misses a step while trying to get the balance as a result of a push. Most of the time, these nurses can get aggressive while attending to these elders, in an expression of their frustration pushes them real hard.
According to the NCOA report, 1 out of 10 elders at age 60+ in the United States experience one form of physical abuse or the other. And only 1 out of 14 of these cases are reported to the authorities. That goes to show that not every case of physical abuse is reported, hence, there are more in cases out there. Indeed, the number of elderly abuse in nursing homes is increasing, as the number of old people in the country continues to grow, reports of one abuse or the other grow with it.
According to the World Health Organization, physical Abuse of elders are usually a repeated act, whereas, there are possibilities that an elder that has once experienced a physical abuse has previously experienced it before, or likely to experience it again. Cases of physical abuse of elderly people are not restricted to a particular region, tribe, or race, it cuts across all religions and tribes thus, and anyone can be either a victim or a perpetrator.
Unfortunately, there are very few modalities put in place for crimes like this to be checked. This is why many of them go undetected, unaddressed, and unreported due to improper internal systems to detect abuse. One of the barriers to addressing this problem is the insincerity on the side of the senior authorities in these facilities who desperately fail to report these abuses for the fear of retaliation by perpetrators.
Lastly, more emphasis should be placed on keeping the elderly people safe, most of the root courses of this abuse are said to be frustration because elderly people‘s facilities across the country are understaffed. So those staffs that find themselves there feel a little bit overwhelmed by responsibilities which overtime metamorphosed into frustration which might lead to different types of abuses, and physical abuse being the commonest of all.