Wednesday 13 January 2010

Elder abuse

Abusing an elderly person is just as villainous as child abuse or harming a disabled person. This essay deals with elder abuse in nursing facilities and old age homes. But first, I will give you some general facts pertaining to elder abuse.

Every year, tens of millions of elderly people worldwide are abused in their own homes, in relatives’ homes, and even in facilities responsible for their care. Abuse and neglect of older adults is not limited to any one country or one part of the world. Most of the elderly victims of abuse are women and I am not just speaking of physical abuse but also but psychological abuses. The victims live in their own home or in a nursing home.

More than half a million reports of abuse against elderly Americans reach authorities every year, and millions more cases go unreported. The U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Aging found that 5% to 10% of the elderly may be victims of moderate to severe abuse, which is also considered to be far less likely to be reported than other types. A professor at the University of New Mexico said that the elderly with disabilities are unlikely to complain about abuse, neglect or victimization under the fear that they will lose whatever support, even abusive, they have and that their complaints will trigger reprisals or get them sent to an institution for the mentally ill.

The National Center for Elder Abuse found that female victims constituted 62% of elder abuse cases. More than 12% involved financial or material exploitation. In those cases, 62% of the perpetrators were family members While domestic violence usually means psychological violence when men are the victims, it is mostly physical violence neglected women have to endure.

Although mostly women take care of the elderly, men are responsible for up to 70% of domestic violence. A son beating his mother is the most common scenario.

The Challenges and Opportunities of an Aging America noted that 1.5 million older Americans are physically, financially, and emotionally abused by their relatives or loved ones annually. As older women become emotionally and psychologically dependent, they become easy targets for domestic violence. Most won't talk about it and don't consider any other possibilities but to endure it.

There is just one registered nurse for every 42 high-care residents living in Australian aged care homes. Many homes are without a senior nurse on the wards overnight or at weekends. Low-paid care workers - some with just three weeks' training are handing out medicines. The chronic shortage of university-trained nurses comes as more aged care homes are being accused of endangering residents. Bedsores, poor nutrition and the failure to administer medication are common problems in homes that fail official checks.

In a report, the Health Service Executive in Ireland revealed an increasing number of cases of elder abuse in that nation. Nearly two thirds of all victims were female and most of the cases involve psychological abuse, neglect, financial matters, and physical assault. The alleged abusers were mainly people with the closest relationship to the older person, such as a child or a spouse. The most common person to report an abuse was a public health nurse or hospital member. The HSE also participates in an annual 'Say No to Ageism' campaign that challenges negative stereotyping and attitudes towards older people.

New figures on violence in Israel show that the most common cases of aggression against older people come from within the family unit. Strikingly, while the overall rate of violence in the nation has declined over the past year, the number of attacks on older persons has increased to over 2,000 cases, most occurring within the domestic sphere. Police cite increasing drug use and overpopulation due to immigration as potential reasons for this phenomenon.

According to the first survey on elder abuse in Japan, family members including sons, daughters, daughters-in-law and spouses - are responsible for over 50% of elder abuse. About 11% of abused older persons have experienced a life-threatening situation. Despite their occurrence, domestic problems are strictly family matters in Japanese society, making it difficult for police and neighbors to intervene. Some older persons think abuse is their own fault, while some are too afraid to take action for fear of possible consequences. For those outside the family, filing a report (on elder abuse) is associated with the risk of violating the family's privacy. Establishing a more effective support system that links the community, agencies and legal experts is critical. Recent cases of elder abuse have forced officials in Japan to pay attention to the growing number of seniors affected by abuse. Currently in Japan, there are no laws protecting older adults from abuse. Since most of older adults live with families, elder abuse is often harder to detect and to prosecute the perpetrator. Lack of funds for social service programs also impedes provision of resources for caregivers to alleviate stress and get care for their loved ones. The aging population in Japan is growing and officials in Japan have to tackle this issue before it becomes a problem.

After investigating all retirement homes in Kazakhstan, members of the prosecution office of the Karagandan region revealed immense violations of constitutional rights of the elderly. None of the 18 regional retirement homes abides by the standards and principles of protection and support for the elderly and invalids. The nature of the abuse differs from home to home, but the officers pointed out the most striking facts present in almost all establishments: the elderly did not receive any clothes, nor did they receive sufficient food. Moreover, invalids and mentally disturbed patients often lived together in exceptionally cramped spaces. A home called ‘Namis’ presented the most appalling example, where 90 elderly people lived in abysmal unsanitary conditions. They slept on dirty, worn-out mattresses without bed sheets in temperature of 3-5 degrees Celsius, and cooked for themselves in their own rooms. The retirement home director took away the older persons' pensions without their consent. The director left them only 10% of their pensions for their own discretion, which they spent on food. Prosecution officers arrested the director; who ended up facing criminal charges. No state law regulates the activity of private retirement homes so much abuse occurs with no chance of redress.

Kenyan society totally abandons the elderly. When it's not HIV/AIDS that kills off their adult children leaving them alone to raise grand-children, older people get little care themselves from family members as was the tradition not long ago. Now, younger people move far away from their hometowns to find a job. Besides, many see the elderly as stigmatized and an unnecessary burden so that they become ‘the poorest of the poor.’ Help Age International is organizing in Kenya against this human rights abuse.

South Korea's aging population has prompted the government to increase the number of facilities for the elderly. However, many of the homes currently existing in the country are run at a sub-standard level. Professor Lim Chun-sikof of Hallim University said that employees at public care facilities in South Korea must care for five times as many patients as an employee at a facility in the United States would. As a result, unnecessary deaths are occurring due to neglect, inappropriate treatment, and in some cases, serious abuses of human rights. The process for investigating deaths occurring in care facilities is far from satisfactory. In many cases autopsies have not been conducted. In a recent case, a team from the National Human Rights Commission discovered the remains of 221 residents in a large cupboard behind the funeral hall of an elderly care facility in Incheon.

Preying on the misery of older persons in Russia who happen to live alone, lots of so-called ‘businessmen’ have appeared in Russia. Genadyi Kiselev, 62 , who lives in Ylyanovsk became another victim of those someone who promised to care for him in the exchange for his house. As a result, this trusting pensioner ended up without a house or important personal documents. The local government as well as hospitals refused to help him since he was not in possession of a passport.

Years ago, there was a Frenchman who promised a rich woman in France that he would care for her if she left him all her money when she died. She agreed. For years, he paid a great deal of his own money towards the upkeep of her. He paid all her bills also. But as fate would have it, he died before she did.

Many years ago, a very old elderly friend of mine who was the organist in my wedding in 1976 later became ill. Alas, over time, I lost contact with her. Years later, I learned from the news that she had died under mysterious circumstances. It seems that a Toronto alderman had made a deal with her that if she left much of her estate to him when she died, he would pay all her bills and see that she was cared for while she lived in her home. He stop paying her bills and the poor woman starved to death. When I attended her funeral, the creep (his name was Waddel) also attended the funeral. I told him that I was going after him for what he did. His father (a former provincial politician) asked, “Are you threatening my son?” I flicked my finger at his son and said, “That is the first flick. This means that I am going to have a inquiry conducted to determine your negligent role in this matter. When you hear the second flick, it will mean that I was successful in that endeavor. When you hear the third flicking of my finger, it will mean that your career as a politician is finished.” Then I turned away from him.

After pestering the attorney general of Ontario via one of my political friends in the legislature, he ordered an inquiry. I attend the inquiry when Wadell was called to the stand. When he finished giving his evidence, he was approached by the television and other news people outside the building. He said, “I have done nothing wrong.” I then suddenly walked right in between him and the television crew and flicked my finger in his face. When asked by a reporter why I did that, I replied, “Ask Wadell.” Later, the decision of the enquiry was that Waddel definitely did wrong to the lady. This announcement happened while he was running for office. He lost miserably. Just before he closed his office and disconnected his phone, I phoned him and when he answered, I flicked my finger in the mouthpiece of the phone and then hung up with a big smile on my face. Just as I don’t break a promise, I don’t renege on a threat either.

Back to Russia. Thousands of elderly persons currently live in 3,000 so-called eldercare institutions. I raise the question of who has the right to control the money of these lonely, miserable old people. Currently the Pension Fund in Russia transfers the money not to the pensioners directly. Rather, it deposits their pensions and other resources in the eldercare institutions' accounts. It turns out that the Eldercare Administration has the sole right to decide how and when to hand the money out. For example, the administration of Gerontology center in Krasnodar has decided not to give the money to the old people at all. This makes the older residents highly vulnerable to economic abuse.

According to a gerontological social worker in South Africa, she says that sometimes older people's children refuse to place their parents in an old age facility because they feel that their older parents should in their home or a home of their child or because they have a better quality of life in their families or at least they should. When my grandmother lived in Vancouver, she lived with my aunt and my grandmother was treated with kindness and given the care she needed by my aunt and her family.

The Quebec provincial government has signed an agreement with a non-profit group to use so-called 'therapeutic clowns' in nursing homes, even though critics say basic care for the elderly is woefully inadequate in that province. Hundreds of private nursing homes as well as homes for the elderly are without properly trained staff, according to patients' rights groups. They contend that the elderly can go for days without being washed in nursing homes. They are often left alone to eat when they are incapable of feeding themselves and they receive other inadequate care for some of their most basic needs.

Recent studies highlighted that over 60,000 people over the age of 65 in Spain are victims of maltreatment in their own homes, many times by their own spouses and/or children. Six out of ten of the abused are women. The Center of Royal Research established five categories of abuse of older persons. The government aims to continue steps to eliminate mistreatment of its senior citizens.

Accusations against older women in rural Tanzania are leading to violence and even murder. Many attacks go unreported, but it is estimated that some 1,000 people in Tanzania lose their lives annually to witchcraft-related violence, with the majority being women over age 50. Perpetrators often target old women, especially widows, due to their low status, low levels of literacy and physical inability to defend themselves.

In Britain, thousands of older people with dementia (Altzheimers) live in care homes where the staff has no training in how to deal with their conditions. Directors and staff who lack specialized knowledge about caring for people with dementia are more likely to control residents' behavior with anti-psychotic drugs, which diminishes their quality of life. Abuse of older people, especially women, is becoming quite frequent in Britain.

A former provost of Edinburgh accused staff at a Scottish hospital of killing his mother through their neglect of her. According to his letter of complaint, his mother's weight plummeted when their lack of care led to the development of bedsores and mouth and throat infections she suffered from while nutrition and fluid intake were not properly monitored. Also, she received no bath and only two showers in 28 days. After four weeks in the hospital, she died from broncho-pneumonia.

What to look for if you suspect something is wrong

You may suspect that an elderly person you know is being harmed physically or emotionally by a neglectful or overwhelmed caregiver or being preyed upon financially. A recent study suggests that the risk of premature death among older adults who suffer abuse is more than double that of seniors who live free of ill treatment. The study from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago was published in the August 5, 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study was in-depth. Researchers analyzed records for 9,318 seniors 65 years of age and older, enrolled between 1993 and 2005 in the Chicago Health and Aging Project, a study of a community-dwelling population. Researchers conducted face-to-face interviews to assess participants' health histories, physical fitness, cognitive abilities, health behaviors and psychosocial behaviors.

Physical elder abuse is non-accidental use of force against an elderly person that results in physical pain, injury, or impairment. Such abuse includes not only physical assaults such as hitting or shoving but the inappropriate use of drugs, restraints, or bodily confinement.

In emotional or psychological senior abuse, people speak to or treat elderly persons in ways that cause emotional pain or distress. Verbal forms of emotional elder abuse includes----intimidation through yelling or threats; humiliation and ridicule; habitual blaming or scapegoating; nonverbal psychological elder abuse taking the form of ignoring the elderly person, isolating an elder from friends or activities and terrorizing or menacing the elderly person.

Sexual elder abuse is contact with an elderly person without the elder’s consent. Such contact can involve physical sex acts; activities such as showing an elderly person pornographic material; forcing the person to watch sex acts, or forcing the elder to undress are also considered sexual elder abuse.
Elder neglect is the failure to fulfill a caretaking obligation and it constitutes more than half of all reported cases of elder abuse in retirement homes and nursing facilities. It can be active (intentional) or passive (unintentional, based on factors such as ignorance or denial that an elderly person needs as much care as anyone not in such institutions does.

Financial exploitation involves unauthorized use of an elderly person’s funds or property, either by a caregiver or an outside scam artist. An unscrupulous caregiver might misuse an elder’s personal checks, credit cards, or accounts, steal cash, income checks, or household goods, forge the elder’s signature or engage in identity theft.

Healthcare fraud and abuse are carried out by unethical doctors, nurses, hospital personnel, and other professional care providers. Examples of healthcare fraud and abuse regarding elders includes----not providing healthcare, but charging for it; overcharging or double-billing for medical care or services; getting kickbacks for referrals to other providers or for prescribing certain drugs; over-medicating or under-medicating and profiting from it; and/or recommending fraudulent remedies for illnesses or other medical conditions.

By learning the signs and symptoms of elder abuse and how to act on behalf of an elderly person who is being abused, you’ll not only be helping someone else but strengthening your own defenses against elder abuse in the future. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, elder abuse can take many forms such as;

Physical abuse: using physical force to injure or threaten a vulnerable senior -Emotional abuse: verbal assaults, threats, emotional isolation or rejection, demeaning acts or statements causing mental anguish or distress to an elder -Sexual abuse: sexual contact with a vulnerable senior, including those unable to grant consent. The contact can be the result of force, deception, threats or other coercion.-financial exploitation: includes theft and fraud, the misuse of authority -exploiting undue influence over a vulnerable person in order to gain control of the elder's money or property -neglect: the failure or refusal of a caregiver to provide for a vulnerable senior's physical needs -emotional needs or safety -abandonment: the desertion by a caregiver of a frail or otherwise vulnerable elder -self-neglect: when a senior is unable to understand the consequences of their own actions or inaction, which can or does lead to endangerment or harm.

Elder Abuses in Nursing Homes

In too many cases, elder abuse takes place in nursing homes. The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates at least one in 20 nursing home residents has been victimized by abuse or neglect. According to the best research on the topic, elder abuse is widespread. An estimated one to two million Americans aged 65 years or older has been injured, exploited or otherwise harmed by someone they counted on for care or safety.

Dr. XinQi Dong, researcher and geriatrician at Rush University Medical Center and the Rush University study's lead author said, "With the rapidly growing aged population in this country, problems of elder abuse will likely become even more pervasive, affecting our family, friends and loved ones." unquote You don't become exempt from abuse once you reach a certain age. Indeed, one in nine people over the age of 60 is harmed by some form of abuse. Too often, those victims stay quiet about it because they're embarrassed or afraid of retribution or because they love their abusers and want to shield them from punishment.

Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that nursing home neglect played a role in nearly 14,000 nursing home patients' deaths between 1999 and 2002.

The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Hong Kong discovered that in the first quarter of 2006, nearly 45% of older persons over 80 years old who were admitted to the hospital due to low blood sugar levels came from old age nursing homes. The medical staff attributed this situation to poor management standards in the nursing homes. The hospital's social department discovered a number of abuses: wrongful distribution of medications to nursing home residents, failure to follow the doctors' prescriptions about the use and amount of medicine and giving cathartics to the elderly without consulting doctors.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

There are warning signs of elder abuse to look for when you visit your loved one. They include;

Cuts, bruises, burns, a sprain or fracture that the nursing home staff can't or won't explain satisfactorily; Bedsores (caused by not shifty the person’s body around the bed when tat person is not able to move);Unexplained sexually transmitted disease or genital infection; unexplained vaginal/anal bleeding; bloody/soiled underclothes; Abrupt changes in behavior or mood; Nursing home staff restricts visitations or refuses to allow visitors; Staff won't allow visitors to be alone with the resident; Nursing home resident appears to be kept in a state of over-medication; Abrupt changes in the resident's will or other estate plans; large withdrawals from bank accounts.

On June 20, 2008, the administrator of a Hamilton, Ontario retirement home was charged with stealing more than $1 million from 48 residents of the Atrium Villa residence between 2003 and January 2008. The investigation began when the family of one resident complained about funds missing from a bank account. The administrator, Margaret Coulter faced 30 counts of fraud over $5,000.

What to Do if Nursing Home Abuse is Suspected

If you suspect your loved one may be a victim of elder abuse in the nursing home where he or she lives, the problems should immediately be brought to the nursing home’s senior staff's supervisor’s attention. Make sure your concerns are documented and that the supervisor acts promptly to correct the problems. If problems persist, or if new problems arise, contact a lawyer or a government official who can advise you of the protections the law affords you and your loved one. Keep in mind that just because your loved one denies that anything is wrong, that doesn’t necessarily make it so, One in nine people over age 60 are victims and many of them don't report it, advocates say.

Before my mother died in 2003 at the age of 91, she spent the last five years in a special hospital for stroke victims in Olympia, Washington. My late stepfather’s twin brother visited her every day before she died and he told me that she was treated extremely well. I should think she should have been considering that she was paying $7,000 a month (which she could afford) to be cared for in that facility.

As a rather fascinating aside, my mother, my stepfather and his twin brother were all born between 9:00 and 9:15 in the morning of May 4th, 1912. What are the chances of meeting a spouse and his twin brother who was born at exactly the same hour, same day, same month and same year? The odds are in the billions.

In November 2008, Ottawa, Ontario Detective, Christina Wolf of the Ottawa Police Elder Abuse Unit said that seniors risk being abused because of the lax regulations concerning retirement homes and the personal support workers who help care for seniors. She said that 81of the 468 suspected elder abuse cases investigated by her unit since 2005 took place at private, unregulated retirement homes. She added that there may be cases that don't come to the attention of police because there's no obligation of the facilities to make those reports.

Hugh Armstrong, a Carleton university professor who serves as a board member with the Council on Aging in Ottawa, said because retirement homes aren't regulated the way provincially run nursing homes are, no one even knows how many there are, who lives there, what they pay their workers, or what the conditions are like at the homes. The lack of regulation means criminal caretakers can move around the industry, abusing new victims as they go. There was one case where a single worker had more than 20 victims as she moved around different retirement homes.

Ms Walters in New Zealand who works with victims of elder abuse said in July 2008 that she had already seen 26 cases of elder abuse in retirement facilities that year, including a woman pushed over by a caregiver and breaking her hip and a patient being given too much medication. Age Concern's Elder Abuse coordinator for Auckland, Emsie Walters said another elderly woman told her that she was told to get into the shower by a caregiver who then washed her, including her genitals, although the woman was able to wash herself. It was also revealed during an investigation that a worker stuck wide medical tape across a rest home resident's mouth and jaw because she was making too much noise. She did this despite the fact that the woman was deaf and cannot speak. She also said, "The saddest thing in the world is a lot of the elderly have got nobody in the world, nobody to stand up for them and nobody to be there,” unquote She said families and old people found it hard to lay complaints because they felt they were at the mercy of rest homes. She added, "They're scared of what might happen. Imagine leaving your mum or dad in a home and thinking: What's going to happen to them now that I've gone?" She added that elder abuse covered sexual abuse, physical abuse, financial abuse and psychological abuse.

Ms Walters said psychological abuse was the most prevalent because it went ‘hand-in-hand’ with other forms of abuse. She further said, "There aren't enough of us and there are times when the law does not protect old people because they are so vulnerable. They're often isolated when abused.” unquote

After the death of several of older people in the retirement homes of Quebec, a governmental investigation has led to some troubling conclusions. The report highlighted the lack of competence of some professionals. It also showed the general trend to consider older people as ‘children’ with a minimalist policy toward organizing activities for the seniors.

Imagine if you will that when you are a senior who spent a good part of your working life as a manager or supervisor being told by a young woman in her late teens, “Now get into bed. It’s time for your nappy.” I remember when I was waiting for my heart operation in 1999, a young sweet nurse came into my hospital room and said, “Mr. Batchelor, it’s time for us to go to bed now.” Now I am not one to miss opportunities when they arise so I immediately got into my bed and then I pulled the blanket away from one side of the bed and said, “I’m so pleased that you are coming into bed with me tonight.” Alas, she wasn’t persuaded but she never suggested that ‘we’ go to bed again, at least not with her.

If you are faced with the problem of having to find a retirement home or nursing facility for your aged parents, it is imperative that a substantial amount of time is spent investigating prospective nursing homes prior to you sending them to one. Do not judge the nursing home on the basis of a directed visit or the pleasant furnishings or pretty material features of the facility.

You should talk to at least one occupant while you visit the facility. This will assist you in assessing the facility exclusive of a guided tour. Walk up and down the halls and talk to bedridden people and individuals who are wheelchair bound. As you converse with them, check out their grooming, skin quality, nail care and oral care. See if the residents appear cheerful or if they are down in the dumps. If nearly everybody you talk to is not capable of having a normal discussion with you, this might be grounds for apprehension.

Frail and fragile seniors do not always have the ability to speak up for themselves and for this reason, identifying potential abuse requires careful monitoring such as talking to visitors who are visiting their loved ones in the facility. They may be able to tell you something about the facility that the residents can’t. Most elderly people are quite capable of making decisions for themselves. Their bodies may be frail or disabled, but they know what's going on. They remain silent because of fear, shame or a misguided belief they gave the abuser a reason to mistreat them. This is a good reason why you should conduct your informal investigation of the facility on a weekend when visitors are generally there.

Look for the signs of nursing home abuse in your frequent visits to the nursing home or assisted living facility. Signs to look for if you think nursing home abuse or negligence has occurred include the following: • Injuries requiring emergency treatment or hospitalization • Any incident involving broken bones, especially a fractured hip • Any injury or death occurring during or shortly after an episode of wandering (including outside the facility) when the staff is not aware that the resident is missing for some period of time • Heavy medication or sedation • Rapid weight loss or weight gain without physician or family notification and a change in treatment being provided • Unexplained or unexpected death of the resident • One nursing home resident injures another resident • Resident is frequently ill, and the illnesses are not promptly reported to the physician and family

What is being done to improve the wellbeing of elderly people in nursing and retirement homes?

To break down the loneliness of old people, a pilot project has been launched in Montreal, Quebec. Volunteers will visit older persons living alone in private nursing homes. The initiative is a welcome development and deserves to be expanded to the whole country. Only autonomous or semi-autonomous people are eligible for the visits because there is no follow-up care for people suffering from Alzheimer's disease, for instance. Due to the common mistreatment of seniors, the selection of patrons will be very rigorous.

The European Union is calling on citizens to fight violence towards the elderly. The EU reminds everyone that respect for all human beings is one of the rights of people in Europe and that no violence of any kind can be accepted. The European Council has stated that the wellbeing of the older citizens is a duty all other citizens must provide. The Council also reminds citizens that many European countries still lag behind in caring for the elders. That's why it calls upon the European Commission and European Parliament to help them catch up.

After finding cases of mistreatment in nursing homes in Bayonne, Nora Berra, France, the Ministry for Older Persons launched an investigation charging the homes of catering to dependent older persons without being authorized by the State. The investigation showed some alarming practices: more than 200 nursing homes do not have a legal administration. If these nursing homes don't comply with regulations, they may be closed beginning March 31, 2010.

The French Hospital Federation plans to establish "indicators" of mistreatment in nursing homes. According to the founder of the project, huge opposition rests on the fact that the issue is regarded as a financial rather than a human problem. The funds raised by those establishments from the French Department Councils are strongly linked to the degree of dependence of the retired persons. This explains the advantage of avoiding encouraging their autonomy and the ‘artificial creation of bedridden persons.’ There are five supposed pertinent and objective indicators to introduce and to communicate regularly, allowing control in the long run that is much more efficient than random controls.

With over 700 retirement homes in Ontario selling accommodation to 41,000 Ontario seniors, in terms of resident population, retirement homes will soon equal the resident population of nursing homes. The average age for retirement home residents is now 83 in that Canadian province.

Researchers in Qatar have been tracking elder abuse worldwide for some time now. In response, Qatar has undertaken many initiatives for elderly persons. The Institute for Elderly Care in Qatar was established in 2002, and aimed at educating the public about elder rights. It also sought to provide various services for elder persons and educate them about their rights and how to better care for themselves. Finally, they also seek to encourage the incorporation of senior citizens into all aspects of social life.


I am at the time of writing this essay, a senior citizen who is 76 years of age and fortunately for me, I still have my full mental faculties in tact and although gout and rheumatism are my lot in life, I attribute that to simply being older than when I used to climb high steep mountains, such as the Matterhorn and the Eiger in the Alps (both deadly and fearsome mountains) when I was in my mid-forties.

Fortunately for me, I have a wife who is 18 years younger than I am and she is extremely fit, both mentally and physically and we are still living together after 34 years of marriage. However, if I was in a nursing home or retirement facility and was being abused the way some of these unfortunate elderly people are, I would really make a fuss about it. But alas, a great many of these unfortunate people have no one to turn to and/or are incapable of making their complaints heard by those who can do something about the conditions they are subjected too.

Just as our young people are our future, older people are our past that has made what we have all become today. The same care and protection should be given to the elderly with the same enthusiasm that is applied towards the protection of our young.

As the younger people of today crowd their seniors out of their way in their desire to get ahead, they should be mindful of the fact that the seniors they choose to ignore are the same seniors that toiled for many years into making it possible for the younger people to benefit what they have acquired today. But while they have the right to move forward, they should not make seniors regret having worked so hard in making life in our societies better for everyone. To ignore the needs and desires of the elderly is a sign that the society they live in is a disgrace to humanity.

My message to the young people reading this essay is this; someday, you will be an elderly person and you will expect that during your remaining years, you will be treated fairly and with the respect you deserve.

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