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How Ageism Contributes To Elder Abuse

How Ageism Contributes To Elder Abuse


Ageism contributes to elder abuse. According to data available from the National Council on Aging, approximately one out of every 10 people over the age of 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse. Some studies say that as many as five million elderly people in this country face some sort of abuse every year. Much of this abuse occurs because of ageism.

What is Ageism?

We want to turn to the definition of ageism provided by the World Health Organization (WHO): “Ageism is the stereotyping and discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of their age. Ageism can take many forms, including prejudicial attitudes, discriminatory practices, or institutional policies and practices that perpetuate stereotypical beliefs.”

The narrow view of aging perpetuated by many people in our society significantly disadvantages the country as a whole. Instead of relying on the wisdom and experience of the elderly, we treat them as individuals who have nothing to contribute. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Ageism and Systematic Elder Abuse

As we mentioned above, elder abuse is a systemic problem across the United States. As we have learned throughout history, it is much easier for a person to perpetrate abuse against those they have a prejudice against. Ageism acts as a type of prejudice that justifies abuse against the elderly while also overlooking the consequences of this type of abuse. Ageism can contribute to all of the following types of abuse that elderly people in this country experience regularly:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Emotional and psychological abuse
  • Neglect

Ageism and Intersectionality

Not every person experiences ageism in the same way. It is generally recognized that people can experience the disadvantages of ageism in unique ways when ageism intersects with other aspects of their identity (intersectionality). Some of the ways that older people face barriers have to do with the intersection of their age and their:

  • Gender
  • Disability
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Culture
  • Language
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity

When we examine the list above, we can see that these are all factors that already contribute to discrimination against certain people in our society. Ageism certainly contributes to and compounds the effects of these other types of discrimination.

Get Help from an Elder Abuse Lawyer

If you or somebody you care about has experienced elder abuse at the hands of a caregiver, there are various steps that you could take to help end the abuse. First, you may want to speak to a skilled San Diego elder abuse attorney. An attorney can use their resources to handle every aspect of these claims. First, an attorney will make sure that the abuse stops by working directly with law enforcement officials and various regulatory agencies in California. Additionally, an attorney can help fully investigate the allegations of ageism and elder abuse and help ensure that victims recover the compensation and closure they deserve for what happened.