Elderly maltreatment has been common in our population and it is not discussed frequently when compared with other issues inside our society and not much research has been done on elder mistreatment in Singapore. Because of such limitations within the analysis of elderly maltreatment, this creates the feeling that elderly maltreatment is a exceptional occurrence and is not a potential threat to our society. Using the reports on true to life elderly abuse circumstances, it is visible that elderly misuse does exist and it is not a exceptional event in Singapore as most of the time, such incidences go underreported. Furthermore, it is often difficult to discover elderly maltreatment as in the first place, there is a lack of recognition in regards to what actually includes elderly mistreatment. Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, minister for community children and athletics, at the annual family assault symposium in the year 2009, cautioned that as Singapore comprises one of the fastest ageing populations on the planet, we have to be prepared and expect a rise in the number of cases including elder misuse. ( straits Times). What is more worrying that majority of the elders are affected misuse under the hands of their own children due to the stress induced in it from care offering. Hence, elderly misuse has become one of the main compelling public issues which have to be attended to because of the mother nature of Singapore's demographic trends which consists a growing proportion of seniors. Thus, in this newspaper, the social problem of my concentrate would be elderly abuse in Singapore.
A common problem faced with respect to the dialogue of elderly mistreatment would be the issue in what exactly constitutes elder abuse. As a result, many situations of elder mistreatment go unreported. ( pg 28, say no to elder maltreatment). The Golden Life Workgroup on Elder Mistreatment Prevention shaped in Singapore in the entire year, 2002, adheres to the earth Health Organization (WHO)'s classification of elder mistreatment. It defines elder abuse in its record presented to the government as
"An individual or repeated act or insufficient appropriate action, taking place within any romance where there is an expectation of trust or responsibility of care, which in turn causes harm or stress to a mature person. " (Golden life workgroup on elder misuse, 2004 PG 16, World Health Firm 2002) CITE PROPERLY
The Ministry of Community Youngsters and Sports activities (MCYS) categorises elderly misuse into 5 main organizations such as financial, disregard, abandonment, physical and internal misuse. (Understanding Elder Misuse and Disregard pg 8 check time 2004?).
The ageing tendencies of Singapore suggests that with upsurge in life expectancy, older people would now require more permanent care than before and there will be an increasing level of dependency on the children to aid them. With declining labor and birth rates, there would be fewer care and attention givers in the family. This creates adequate opportunity for elderly abuse to take place. (UN Secretary-General's Statement, March 2002). The ratio of seniors who are aged above 65, in 2009 2009 was 8. 80% and the projected ratio of older in the year 2030 is likely to rise to 18. 7%. (Statistical Indicators on the Elderly, MCYS). The United Nations uses the dependency ratio as a marker of the dependency burden to anticipate the amount of burden which needs to be transported by the working populace. (Source: Population Division, Division of Economic and Social Affairs, US Secretariat 2007 http://www. un. org/ageing/popageing. html). Regarding Singapore, as the old-age dependency ratio is increasing each year whereby in the entire year 2008 it was 11. 9 per 100 and in the year 2010 it risen to 12. 2 per 100. (Team of Figures, 2011). This has serious implications for Singapore, as the working populace has to shoulder the burden of care presenting and financial support. Now, it becomes even more difficult with the increasing range of singles and maried people choosing not to have any children or just having one young child. Such situations have serious repercussions as the future craze will be such that care providing on older people will be entirely shouldered by the only real child and this creates a growing amount of stress and strain on the singular caregiver which in return causes them to abuse older people. It was reported in the Straits times that every year a complete around 178 conditions of elderly abuse were being reported and out these 178 cases reported about 120 instances of older people were abused by their own children. (Theresa Tan, The Straits Times (Singapore) Oct 22, 2009 Thursday).
There are various theories to explain the reason why for the occurrence of elderly misuse. The cultural exchange theory looks for to further describe the reason why for elderly to see violence using their company perpetrators using the concept of public resources such as power, financial balance and status. ( Quotation : public work textbook pg 324), Pillemer, 1989 refer to no eldlerly maltreatment book behind). Increasing level of dependency on children creates a potential environment for maltreatment to take place, as the elderly authority is currently diminished scheduled to insufficient vitality and necessary resources that your potential caregiver has. Hence, such a power dimension based on the option of resources creates imbalance and pressure in the partnership between the elderly and the caregiver. Another occasion whereby an elderly abuse can take place can be described through another theory known as the ecological theory, is when the caregiver of older people themselves might be having several problems for example they themselves may have financial issues or could be experiencing some health issues. Thus, looking after an elderly may stimulate stress on the caregiver whereby in some situations, as a form of coping mechanism they might vent out their frustrations on the elderly under their attention through verbal and physical misuse and this triggers older people to be in a greater contact with misuse. (MCYS, booklet). An example to demonstrate such an instance that was cited in a Straits times article will be about an unmarried kid who was in his forties who got to stop his job to provide for his mother who was simply bedridden and suffering from dementia. Not having the ability to handle the strain that he was going through, he used going to his mom frequently. (Theresa Tan, The Straits Times (Singapore October 22, 2009 Thursday). A lot of the times, the subjects of elderly misuse tend to be older who are completely reliant on their children in terms of financial and healthcare aspects and therefore the perpetrators of seniors abuse are usually their children or someone they dependent on. ( Quote: The Pattern of Elderly Maltreatment Presenting to a crisis Team, G W M Cham, E Seow, 2004, pg 571).
Although, the amount of elderly misuse and neglect instances are less than 200, it will not be studied at face value that older people abuse is a uncommon phenomenon. Via an Asian world, especially in a region whereby Confucian worth are prevailing, since almost all of the perpetrators are their own children, the elderly seldom statement about them being abused as they do not want to be ashamed or do not need to be judged upon, viewed down for raising children who are abusive. ( Penhale 1993, united kingdom journal of communal work, 23, 2). For other seniors, they could choose to put up with under the hands of the children alternatively than confirming them as they are increasingly reliant on their children to fulfil their basic needs, they fear of burning off them or they concern with the future repercussions such as intensified level of misuse from the perpetrator when they resort to confirming them. (Lee and Pang, 2003, pang 2000). Due to such underreporting and the denial of being abused further heightens this public issue as older people tend to put up with in silence.
The social problem of elderly maltreatment should be viewed in terms of an micro and macro level. (interpersonal work)From samples cited in this paper, it is seen that almost all of the Elderly mistreatment which is one form of family assault was at first seen to be always a private affair which was limited to and occurred usually in the family sphere which is the micro level. When the problem of the elder maltreatment is also being experienced by majority of the citizens in Singapore as well, with the increasing number of instances of elder misuse being cited in the newspaper publishers and with the fast paced ageing people in Singapore, this problem of elder mistreatment now becomes a general population and national issue which the talk about has to solve. (textboo) For instance, in the earlier years when it came to issues about abuse more attention had received to child and spousal abuse however, not elderly mistreatment. (say no elderl abuse) Presently as more instances of older abuses are approaching to the limelight, it is an concern which is worthy of matter. Therefore, elderly abuse and disregard is a communal issue which not only affects the elderly but it also the rest of the population who now have to shoulder the responsibility of supporting older people.
There are numerous perspectives with regards to the issue of seniors abuse and exactly how it should be tackled. Firstly from the state's viewpoint, it purely adopts a non-welfare way. The state is convinced that various interpersonal safety nets like the community, cultural services and non-profit organizations have to get together to deal with the social issue of elderly abuse. The state of hawaii mainly uses the legal methodology and tertiary involvement by means of laws to handle elder mistreatment and neglect. Including the Women's charter seeks to deal with family violence and protect family including the seniors who are being abused. The financial neglect of elderly has been taken care of under the Maintenance of Parents Action that allows the parents to demand financial support off their children through the Tribunal court. ( say no to elder). The Maintenance of Parents Take action although allows parents to demand for financial provison using their children. This solution can help the elderly to get financial support from other reluctant children in particular when they have nobody to carefully turn to. Unfortutantely, this is merely a temporary solution as regulations only addresses the financial overlook aspect and will not address the mental aspect of older people. It is because regulations cannot mandate children to be loving towards their parents. This present solution posses certain shortfalls, for illustration, , many parents might not exactly want use this maintenance act in order not cause further trouble for his or her children. Another problem with this solution is that lots of of the elderly are not even aware of the life of such legal construction.
From the physicians and healthcare specialists' perspective, there has been increasing nervous about regards to elderly abuse and disregard. Clinics now see a growing variety of care givers committing suicide scheduled to not having the ability to handle the stresses of care supplying and some even lead to abusing their parents under their health care not as a result of intention of abusing them but because they don't know who to take care of the situation. ( srraits times) In a recent stratis time a doctor in this article mentioned any particular one of her patients's girl who was the only real treatment giver would induce feed her until the patient needed to be treated in medical center for malnutrition and despite constantly being admitted in to the hospital, she was not told where to get help and the caregiver by chance discovered that there surely is a centre which provides help in treatment presenting. ( straits Times). From medical care experts view, they feel that the state will come up with even more rigourous legal construction and their state may help in creating a strong network between private hospitals and different caregiving centres so that the patients can get revelant help to cope with the demanding tasks of care presenting. Furthermore, health care experts can play a key role in discovering elderly misuse. The emergency department is one important place whereby older who are abused are being isolated and it could be the only real appropriate situation to identify cases of older mistreatment. (W S Pang, 2000). The health care experts face a problem when they face or think that their older patients might have been abused. For the reason that there are no specific laws and regulations addressing elderly abuse or neglect which results in not having a clear emphasis of what actually constititues an elderly abuse. (Quote pg 50). You can find efforts to execute regulations such as Maintenance of Parents Act by their state to protect seniors in a few ways however, there is absolutely no laws which calls for obligatory reporting of elderly mistreatment circumstances. Hence this creates a predicament on part of the doctors as to whether or not to report instances of abuse. Because of the absence of a clear and proper construction or solution for a healthcare facility professionals to strictly abide by, such a situation causes an elderly to be capture in a vicious cycle of abuse. It has underlying consequences in the future as more conditions of elderly mistreatment may become undetected.
From the interpersonal workers and insurance plan makers point of view, they believe that more can be done in training medical care professionals and public workers in conditions of understanding and detecting elderly abuse. Furthermore, they believe more care offering centers can be create to lessen stress of the care and attention givers and serve as an involvement for abuse cases. This solution is can be quite useful over time as it helps to protect seniors and really helps to consell and educating the stressed caregiver which eventually helps to prevent the older from being further abused. However, one area of concern would be that the availability and increasing variety of caregiving centers and home homes can also create an area for misuse whereby children of the elderly for their convenience and in order to discard their responsibility as they could use such places to dump their parents there. Thus, there's be stricter laws based on the admission in to the caregiving centers.
After considering all the several perspectives on offer pertaining to seniors abuse, in my own view, I would support and favour medical researchers, social personnel and policy makers view especially with the view that their state has to adopt stricter and harsher laws and regulations as it pertains to elderly abuse. The lack of mandotary reporting of elderly misuse, creates the main problem for allowing older abuse cases to go unreported. Furthermore with the lack of a clear construction of what actually constitutes elder maltreatment or how this social issue can be tackled it generates a kind of helplessness for the medical and sociable work professionals because they are not being able to intervene in seniors abuse cases promptly. In my own view after the state has think of a clear group of laws specifically addressing to elderly mistreatment and once there can be an the execution of compulsory reporting then it gets easier for the health care professionals and communal personnel to be better equipped in intervening in older abuse instances.
In finish, as reviewed in this newspaper, elderly maltreatment is one of the main element social issues which the states must constantly consider as elderly mistreatment requires plenty of intervention programmes, training and education of the general public and interpersonal work specialists. Elderly abuse can have serious consequences on the mental health of the elderly plus they might lose their dignity in living as a normal individual and their basic individuals rights like the freedom to fight any abuse and discrimination against them is being lost. So that it becomes essential to ensure these group of seniors not simply will have the correct medical facilities but it is also our society's outermost obligation to ensure that the elderly years with dignity plus they spent their last years in a secured and non abusive family environment.