#AgingisABlessing 2020 Essay Competition Entry by Mofe Afuye
Intro by DDF: Mofe Afuye, our 2nd place winner in the primary section, delighted our judges with her insight based on her interview of a Seenager. During her interview with the judges she suggested providing help for the elderly to retire well and not have to beg in their old age.When asked her opinion on how to end elder abuse she suggested, “Old people should save so that when they grow old, they will not have to be looking for money”. Afuye, impressed the judges with her well-spoken responses.
Edeh Henry also represented the Omuode community well. He spoke about the “Seenager” he adopted and expressed the need to Obey elders and follow all their instructions. His work is displayed her side by side with an essay by Mofe Afuye.
Please read and share to promote our message #StopElderAbuse.
By: Mofe Afuye 2nd Place Winner Primary Category Dewdrop Foundation 2020
Art By Edeh Henry Consolation Prize Winner
Nuggets of Wisdom #AgingisABlessing
Elder abuse can be defined as neglect or ill treatment towards elderly citizens aged 60 and above. This heartless treatment is deplorable and needs to stop. From 2002 to 2016, there were nineteen-thousand homicides and six- hundred and forty-three thousand emergency department elder-abuse patients. Also, one out of ten older citizens experience elder abuse. Before I dive into this topic, I will buttress my point with a short narration.
Mr. Mohammed Mai-Bornu was an engineer in Royal Courts Homes. He worked very hard and strived to do his best. One day, Mr. Mohammed was working as he received an email. He read it and found out that he received the job he had applied for. It gave him a job in America and offered him a house, car and even the ticket for his flight! He accepted the job happily.
Two years later, Mr. Mai Bornu was working at J.J Company in Atlanta. His mother was very proud of him and kept on comparing him to his brother. Since he was the last child, it made him full of happiness to be better than his older brother. To impress his mother more, he brought her to America. Unfortunately, this did not go as planned. His mother needed care and he was too busy with work to give her that. Her occasional nagging for him to get married was not helping matters. He decided to put her in an elderly home without her consent. So, he dumped his mother there and visited her once every six months and after that once a year. He felt that she was a weight off his chest.On one of his occasional visits he got to find out that she had given up the ghost in a seizure. He then began to regret his selfish actions.
The story above is a vivid example of elder abuse. It gives a more detailed analysis based on real life events. In other words, elder abuse is the act of doing anything to an older citizens will that can cause harm to the elder. Elder abuse does not have to mean harassing the elder- it can be failure to meet with their needs.
Elder abuse is a complex topic and can be broken down into seven parts which are physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, neglect, self-neglect, abandonment and emotional or psychological abuse. According to National Certificate of Educational Achievement, neglect is the most common type of elder abuse. Also, according to National Council on Aging (NCOA), elders are most likely to self-report financial exploitation.
Elder physical abuse is inflicting physical pain on and older adult. It includes harming the older citizen physically and can lead to death, permanent body damage, depression and suicide.
Elder sexual abuse is forcefully interacting in sexual activity with an older citizen who may not be fit to do such or may have a medical condition which prevents them from doing so. This may lead to depression and uncomfortable feelings when with people.
Elder financial abuse is the unauthorized usage of an older citizen’s wealth or belongings for selfish or personal reasons. A sign is of this is an ATM transaction which the elder could not have performed.
Elder neglect is failure to provide necessities such as food, shelter, adequate clothing and treatment for illnesses. It may lead to the elder struggling for survival.
Elder self-neglect is the inability for an elder to take care of themselves due to financial crisis or other forces. This can lead to elders hawking or selling by the roadside.
Elder abandonment is leaving an elder at a place without adequate or an arranged system of taking care of the elder. This can lead to elder self- neglect.
Elder emotional / psychological abuse refers to the verbal abuse that puts an elder through psychological trauma or makes them feel depressed.
COVID 19 PANDEMIC EFFECT ON ELDER ABUSE
Covid 19 has many negative effects on elder abuse. Firstly, the elders who cannot cater for themselves may be forced to go and beg on the streets, making them vulnerable to angry drivers who might rain insults on them and give them psychological trauma.
Lastly, the older citizens who cannot afford face masks, hand sanitizers and antibacterial hand-wash will be exposed to the virus. In short, older citizen’s lives are at risk in this hard time.
To help older citizens during this Covid 19 crisis, we should give necessities to elders in need of help or in financial crisis.
WAYS TO PREVENT ELDER ABUSE
Firstly, an effective way to prevent elder abuse is to raise awareness. This can be done through social media platforms or even hosting fundraisers for elders in crisis (e.g. two musicians coming together to sing on the dangers of elder abuse.
In addition, to prevent elder abuse, we are encouraged to not keep our mouths shut when we see elders being abused. We are to stand up for what is right.
Thirdly, we should only leave our elders in the hands of trusted adults to make sure that they are always being treated as how they deserve to be treated.
Also, the government should create comfortable homes for older citizens that are suffering from self-neglect only to avoid abandonment.
Last but not the least, we should train children of this generation to be independent, responsible and not to be naïve. A child who has been trained and grows to be an adult will know the importance’s of saving for the future and not to trust everyone they meet.
In conclusion, elder abuse is wrong because it goes against our cultural beliefs’ as a society. In Nigeria, we have a history which teaches us to respect our elders because they trained us to be who we are today.
Elder abuse is an issue which is not getting enough attention. It is our responsibility as citizens of the country to make sure that elders in the community feel safe wherever they are.