I was sad to see the news about the financial abuse being experienced by our elderly. We have culturally, a long way to go in terms of how we care for our elderly. Other cultures seem to have it right, Native Americans, Greeks, Koreans, Indians, Chinese, these are a few of the cultures who fetishize youth less, and respect elderly more.
It’s not as prevalent in Western cultures sadly.
Numbers came out the other day that up to 10 per cent of people aged 65 or over in this country, are victims of elder abuse or neglect. Elder abuse response services, offered by Age Concern, were told of more than 2,200 cases of suspected abuse in a single year.
They were a mix of psychological abuse and financial abuse. Family members made up 76 per cent of the alleged abusers. How is it possible that 76 per cent of us can be that cold hearted towards our elders?
And how is it we’re happy to fleece them? Why do we think their hard earned money is ours?
I know kids are staying home longer, relying on us more, we hear more and more about the bank of Mum and Dad, parents being guarantors or paying deposits for kids, offering to help with school fees or childcare. Grandparents taking on parenting roles.
Yes it’s tough going for our kids, but I do wonder whether this much generosity early on, sets up a template for a sense of entitlement to flourish.
Kids are not expected to stand on their own two feet and it's hard for us parents, of course we want to help them, but hand outs are not always the best approach. Too many handouts erodes work ethic.
If financial problems get solved too easily, then do kids ever really learnt to graft and dig in, wait and work hard for something. We're definitely seeing an impatience mindset.. the ‘I want it all now’ factor. Ask any employer of milennials.
But if the end result is fleecing our elderly then we’re doing something wrong.
Sure there’ll be cases of warring dysfunctional families whereby bossy offspring will assume they know best and take their parents financial matters into their own hands.. and bank account.. but the numbers on this abuse are too high.
And they’re just the numbers we know about. Shame and stigma means much of this goes unreported. Who wants to tell people that they’ve been ripped off by their own family?
Your family are the people you’re supposed to trust, how scary for older people if they feel they can’t.