For the love of our parents Essay

This essay has a total of 1214 words and 6 pages.

For the love of our parents

Elderly abuse is defined as "any deliberate action or lack of action that causes harm to
an older adult." (Brownridge 55) It may take the form of: physical, financial, neglect, or
psychological abuse. (Maclean 7-23) Statistics show that abuse towards the elderly is a
substantial problem: A 1989 survey of 2000 elderly persons from private house holds found
that 4% of the people reported being abused. (Health Canada) This is the equivalent of
98,000 elderly people in Canada. Financial abuse was the highest with 60,000 elders being
affected, and psychosocial abuse is second affecting 30,000 elders. These shocking
statistics are, believe it or not, understated due to lack of research. Elderly Canadians
will always be a component of our society, and due to new medical breakthroughs they will
be an increasing sector of the population. More specific laws, stricter enforcement of
existing laws, and strategies for increased research and awareness need to be implemented
in order to combat the increasing problem of elderly abuse in Canadian society.

One major problem with the few existing laws is that they are not specific to the elderly.
If an elderly person is abused the abuser may be charged with several sections of the
criminal code. For example, physical abuse may be a form of assault or sexual assault, and
financial abuse may be an offence such as theft or fraud. This is a smoke-screen for the
lack of stricter laws; the government may argue that there are laws to protect the
elderly. The different types of elderly abuse are not specified; therefore many types of
abuse may not be covered. This leads to a problem when trying to convict perpetrators of
elderly abuse; the person behind the act may not receive a suitable conviction, allowing
them to get away with the crime they have committed. Also, when elderly abuse is not
specified in the criminal code it is not seen as a serious enough offence, leading people
to believe that they will get away with perpetrating this appalling act. An Emergency
Protection Order (Oak Net) may be obtained to provide immediate protection of an abuse
family member. This also is not specific to the elderly, and the order may be refused if a
family member has guardianship over the elderly. The family member may argue that the
elderly person is unable to make a coherent judgment, and the order may be denied. If the
Order specifically recognized the types of elderly abuse psychological abuse would be
taken into account, legally, and the Order would be more effective in combating elderly
abuse. The different laws vary from province to province. (Sebold 119) The definition of
elderly abuse is not specifically stated at the federal level and there are no mandatory
standard or regulations to deal with elderly abuse. If there is no federal standard, then
there is no way to ensure that the few laws that exist are effective, and if those laws
are not specific to the elderly then that leads us back to the drawing board to find a
better way to make the laws effective. As well as the laws not being specific enough, the
enforcement of the laws needs to be improved.

The enforcement of the laws that exist is weak, pathetic even, and is severely
ineffective. It is difficult for police to find sufficient evidence to charge an abuser
when using the Criminal Code as a defense against elderly abuse. The evidence needs to
prove the abuser is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and because the criminal code s not
specific to the different types of elderly abuse, adequate and seemingly relevant evidence
is hard to find. Most of the laws require the victim seek help, but in most cases victims
may be unable to contact the police due to physical or mental disability, and fear of
repercussion. Also, if the court denies the Protection order the police cannot do anything
to help the victim. All of these factors limit the way the police can enforce the laws and
help the elderly against abuse. There are several steps that need to be taken in order to
fight elderly abuse in Canada.

Increased funding and awareness towards elderly abuse will aid in the fight against
elderly abuse. The government, both federal and provincial, needs to set aside a
reasonable amount of funding toward abetting to decrease elderly abuse. With this
government funding, the establishment of a current research program into the different
types of elderly abuse along with the prevalence of each type need to be put in place.
This will provide the government with current statistics, so the major problem areas will
be identified. Also the standardization of the definition of elderly abuse at the federal
level will ensure this problem is dealt with equally in the entire country. Alongside the
research, the public, elderly, and health care facility workers need to be provided with
more information on what constitutes elderly abuse, especially on areas that may be
unclear, such as financial abuse. This will be a lengthy process, so more immediate
measures must be taken.
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