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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > New study finds bigger problem of elder abuse in low-income Latino families than previously thought

New study finds bigger problem of elder abuse in low-income Latino families than previously thought

LatinaLista — The stresses of a bad economy always take a toll on people, especially the poorest. Latinos are not exempt from this reality. The results of one recent study destroys the fairytale myth that all Latinos share in honoring, respecting and taking care of our elders.

According to a new study, by researchers from the University of Southern California Davis School of Gerontology, elder abuse among low-income Latinos is higher than previously thought. The most common forms of abuse were found to be physical or sexual abuse, psychological abuse, financial exploitation and caregiver neglect.

The only finding of the study that falls within the usual stereotypical expectations of Latinos is that hardly anyone talks about it.

More than 40 percent of Latino elders told Spanish-speaking interviewers that they had been abused or neglected in the last year — yet only 1.5 percent of victims said they had ever reported the abuse to authorities.

The researchers found those elderly Latinos who had been in the United States longer were more likely to be abused or neglected — a negative consequence of so-called American assimilation or a telling hint that the very family values for which Latinos have long been admired for are disappearing?

Clearly, money plays an important role in today’s families. With prices rising everywhere, it takes more money to buy less food, less services and pay for increasingly expensive rents. Add the pressures of caring for the special needs of abuela or abuelo and what once was considered not such a big deal is looked at as a burden.

The researchers found that the best way to combat this growing problem among the low-income was to make sure services, that were not readily available in these areas, were set up for people to know where to turn to for help and advice.

Yet, the best way to solve this dilemma is to convince Latino elders to speak out about their abuse so they can learn that they are their own best advocates for a safe life.

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    July 24, 2012 at 6:28 am

    Many thanks for helping to highlight this ever-increasing global crime. With the world headed toward the largest transfer of wealth from one generation to the next in history, this crime, unless we are all educated and alert, is set to become a global horror show.
    Filmmaker Pamela Glasner’s parents were recent victims of financial exploitation.
    Glasner’s mother, at 89, had two children, but they both lived far away; the love of her life, her 90-year-old husband, was moved into a nursing home, leaving her suddenly on her own; a bout with glaucoma left her unable to drive.  She was a proud, intelligent woman known for being an excellent businesswoman.   “Mom never,” Glasner says, “let on that there was a problem.  There was no reason for my brother or me to presume to keep a watchful eye on Mom’s finances or her choice of friends.  We’d never been involved with financial abuse and had no notion of what was happening until it was too late.”  Ethel Glasner was not impaired — she was 89 and lonely and dependent.  She was the perfect victim – and sadly, in the nursing home, so was her husband, Harry Glasner, who was impaired – with Alzheimer’s.
    A new documentary, ‘Last Will and Embezzlement,’ tells her story, but also – and more importantly – features disturbing, first-hand accounts from other real-life victims, including Hollywood icon Mickey Rooney, as well as in-depth interviews with experts who discuss such key issues as victim profiles, the perpetrators’ modus operandi, reasons for vulnerability, as well as potential solutions so that hopefully seniors and baby boomers won’t don’t become victims in the first place – prevention before the fact is always better than hoping for law enforcement or justice after the fact. 
    Perhaps your readers would be interested: http://www.lastwillandembezzlement.com which was directed by Deborah Louise Robinson and produced by Starjack Entertainment. 

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