Guest Author - Jeanette Stingley
Domestic violence can and does occur among all age groups from teens all the way through senior citizens. When you think of senior citizens, you may not think there is a domestic violence problem in that age group. The Agency for Health Research and Quality has released study results that state one in four women 65 and older have been physically, sexually or verbally abused by their spouse or partner. This differs from elder abuse. Elder abuse is when a caretaker other than a spouse abuses a senior citizen. Out of the women interviewed for the study, 26.5 percent said they have experience violence by an intimate partner throughout their lifetime.
An abused woman over the age of 65 may have a harder time leaving and feel forced to stay more so than their younger fellow victims. There are many women in this age group who were housewives and never had the opportunity to work. This leaves a woman assuming they must depend on their spouse’s retirement income and his Social Security benefits.
Some women may be too embarrassed by the abuse to tell anyone, even their own children. No one wants to feel like they are a burden to their children even if their children are able to take them in to help escape the abuse. We also need to consider a man 65 and over being abused. Most senior men are raised to be “the man of the house”. Imagine the struggle for a man of this age to come out and say his wife is abusing him.
So what can a senior citizen victim do to escape the violence? First off, you need to speak up and tell someone you are close to. It doesn't necessarily have to be your child or relative. Talk to your doctor, you close friend, or most big cities have senior centers. There is someone out there who will listen to you and be able to point you in the right direction. There are thousands and thousands of survivors out here that believe no human being deserves to be treated badly.
Check out the resources here on my site for the state you live in. I have resources for every state. Even if I don't have a place listed for your specific city, call one on the list. Most shelters know of other shelters in their respective states or someone may know where you can turn to for help. You can also find resources at The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA). Even though their main purpose is Elder Abuse, there are resources for each state listed there as well.
Here is a listing of places you can also start searching for help:
1. Administration on Aging web site www.aoa.com Click on “Elders and Families”
2. Association for Protection of Elders
3. National Center on Elder Abuse
4. Local councils and programs on aging
5. Local senior centers
6. State ombudsmen for seniors
7. Local welfare and social security insurance programs
8. Local battered women’s coalitions
9. Local branches of the Urban League and other advocacy groups
10. County-based social services
You can also email me, and I will try to help as well. Posting in the forums can be a good place to start too. You don't have to identify yourself in anyway to use our forums.