When my father died, my mother wanted to stay in her home. She’s no longer able to look after herself. That's why my sister goes round every day to look after her. She cooks for her, gives her medication and injections. Actually, my sister cannot cope with this care. I know that my sister sometimes calls her names and teases her. When I talk to my sister about this, she claims our mother is lying.
One day my mother told me she’s afraid of my sister. She’s afraid my sister could hit her at any point. She’s dependent on her and feels trapped. What should I do?
When elderly people are neglected or experience violence, we speak of elderly abuse. The elderly person receives the wrong medication, no clean clothes or is not washed often enough.
Sometimes there’s financial violence. Think of elderly people who are no longer allowed to decide what they spend their money on. Or elderly people who are robbed. Elderly people can also experience emotional, sexual and physical violence.
The violence is not always intentional. The person committing violence doesn’t always intend to hurt someone. Sometimes a partner or family member can no longer cope with caring for the elderly person.
The person committing the violence is a partner, family member, neighbour or friend. A professional can also commit violence.
The elderly person is often dependent on the offender, for example for care. There may also be financial dependency. Think of a son or daughter who lives at home and earns money.
Elderly people can also become the victim of abuse by a family member, a fellow resident or a professional in a service flat or a residential care centre.
Since I've moved to a flat, I have very few social contacts. The only person who visits me is my son. When he’s here, he’s sometimes drunk and insults me. He accuses me of having been a bad father. I know I made many mistakes in the past. I don't dare to react. If he doesn't visit me anymore, I won't see anybody.
Have you been treated badly or have you experienced violence or neglect? Are you worried about an elderly person? Does it sometimes get too much and can you not handle the care for an elderly person?
You can share your story with helpline 1712. Professional counsellors will give you information and advice.
Do you see elderly people professionally and are you worried? Call or email VLOCO (The Flemish Expertise Centre for Elder Abuse). VLOCO is a help centre for professionals who suspect elderly abuse. More info and contact details can be found on ouderenmisbehandeling.be