It doesn’t get a lot of coverage, but abuse of the elderly is a serious and growing problem. While such things have always happened throughout history, the situation we face now is unprecedented.

Respect for older people has been seriously eroded by popular culture, with entertainment media often portraying senior citizens as an annoyance, an inconvenience, or even just sponges that suck the marrow from society. The Simpsons, in particular, is an example with the way it depicts Abe Simpson, the residents of the Springfield Retirement Castle, and even Montgomery Burns.

It’s all part of an emerging pattern of ageism and that is something that we’ll have to deal with as a society, especially as people are now living longer and the percentage of elderly people in the population is growing.

Oceanside has a high number of elderly residents due to the tranquil climate and pleasantness of the surroundings. But what goes on behind closed doors can sometimes be horrific. Some people that are trusted with the care of the elderly are sometimes inflicting abuse upon them.

This abuse can take all forms, including psychological abuse, intimidation, rough handling, physical assault, extortion, or simply just the theft of treasured possessions. It’s even been known for sexual assaults to be perpetrated against the elderly.

Sometimes the abuser may be a nurse, or it could be a family member. In truth, it doesn’t matter who it is that inflicts abuse, it is something that needs to be dealt with and stopped.

The first step to getting elder abuse stopped is to get it known about by relevant authorities such as the police and health care service providers. Following that, you may need to get help from a lawyer. One law firm with expertise in handling elder abuse cases in the Oceanside area is domestic violence attorneys Fischer & Van Thiel. They understand the particular difficulties victims of elder abuse crimes may be facing, and they’ll be able to provide appropriate advice to help in any particular situation. Less experienced attorneys may know the law, but they may also not have the required level of understanding of the implications that may exist in a victim’s circumstances.

There is a range of services that can be applied and recommended, including obtaining a restraining order against the abuser, and other things all the way up to entering into civil litigation to claim damages for the suffering that has been inflicted.

Senior citizens should be able to live out the remaining years of their lives free from pain, stress and worry. All too often nature plays a role in denying somebody that privilege. With that in mind, it is completely unacceptable for any person to interfere in the life of an elderly person, to use intimidation, to take advantage of confusion or memory loss for their personal gain, or to use actual physical violence.

We must always remember that elderly people are vulnerable and need protection when facing the threat of harm. Fortunately there are laws designed to protect the elderly from abuse and there are many fantastic organizations dedicated to helping senior citizens who may be in difficult circumstances.