Elderlies constitute a significant population in the USA and according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services; there will be around 72.1 million older persons in the USA by 2030. Being at a certain age where they are not in the physical or mental condition to take adequate care of themselves makes them vulnerable to a lot of things, but the worst of the lot is negligence and abuse at the hands of their family members.
Blame it on the Culture
The society in the USA is based on a Protestant work ethic where the emphasis is on hard work and frugality. Although these are good fundamentals for creating an economically functional society, it's the personal relationships that often take the backseat. Moreover, a person above a certain age group who is no longer a productive member of the society ends up feeling lonely and at times worthless. The younger lot in metropolitan cities stuck in a hectic lifestyle have little or no time for their aging parents and as a custom leave them in the hands of professional care at an elderly care facility. Others move out at an early age and meeting their parents become a monthly or yearly ritual for them.
Different cultures follow different norms as far as elderly care is concerned. As we celebrate the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day today, here is a look at some of them:
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#1. India: It might come as a surprise to many, but it’s common for Indian kids to stay with their parents even when they are old enough to leave the nest. The country has a custom which is called Joint Family, where every member of the family stays under one roof. This might seem like an odd practice to outsiders, but it ensures proper care of the elderly at the hands of their near and dear ones. To put your parents in a nursing (old-age) home is a practice that is frowned upon in India.
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#2. China: People of China follow a philosophy which is called filial piety that focuses on paying regards to one’s parents and ancestors. No wonder the country does not treat its elderly as a liability but rather gives them the respect and love. Though the present scenario has changed a little, all thanks to industrialization, children are moving to more developed and urban cities and leaving their parents behind. To curb this situation, a law was passed in 2013 called the Elderly Rights Law; this law made it mandatory for everyone to visit their parent and not neglect their elderly folks.
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#3. France: It’s not just the eastern countries, but even in France, you are legally bound to respect and take care of your parents. Article 207 of the Civil Code which was passed in 2004 makes it a necessary practice for every citizen to visit their elderly parents. This law was adopted in the wake of increasing pensioner suicides, which was a clear indication of how dejected the old ones felt in the society.
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#4. Latin Community: The Latin community much like the East believes in the concept of making parents an integral part of the family. Elders are not neglected but rather are relied on to take care of the younger generation while the earning members go to work. The seniors occupy a central role in the family and are respected by every member of the household.
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#5. Greece: My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a near accurate picture of how close knit the Greek families are. Older adults are a central figure in the household, and a strong emphasis is laid on their care. Old aged people are respected and their opinions and life experiences revered in the Greek culture.
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Elder Abuse is on the Rise
Elder abuse is a broad term that constitutes physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, financial and material abuse; abandonment; neglect; and loss of dignity and respect. According to a study conducted by WHO in 2016, 1 out of 10 older person experiences abuse every month. A record number of such violations happen at institutions. As many as 2 million elders are abused, exploited and neglected every year. The idea of old people being mistreated, yelled, cussed and at times physically abused is sickening, but sadly that is the grim reality of elderly abuse. Our parents go beyond their scope to provide us with all the necessities and luxuries and lead us gently through the hurdles of life until we are old enough to battle them on our own. They don’t feel that we are burdens on them but rather show an incredible amount of patience in handling us, be it infancy, being a toddler or an angst-ridden teen. Despite all this, the moment they cross a certain threshold of age and are ailing and unable to move and work with the same vigor, they become dispensable for us.
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Since people look up to the glitzy stars of Hollywood and ape their way of life, we have an interesting list of celebrities who despite growing out of the shadows of their parents and becoming a globally recognized name still live with their folks.
#1. Jennifer Lawrence: The actress is a familiar name in the movie industry and has a huge fan following. People are awed and delighted by her funny antics, and she says it as she feels it. Though there is another interesting side to this already intriguing starlet, she lives with her parents and thinks the idea of living on her own in a huge mansion is bizarre.
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#2. Bradley Cooper: As surprising as it might sound one of the hottest men in Hollywood lives with his mother. This is because his father died of cancer and he didn’t wish for her live on her own. Now, that is some sincere love for family.
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#3. Kim Kardashian: She may not be the sharpest tool in the box but seems like Kim has her heart in the right place. She is part of a tightly knitted family, and her parents are important family members to her. Whether this is to gain TRPs or is a gesture of love, it is still good to see famous folks caring for their parents.
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#4. Kristen Stewart: The Twilight star was living with her parents all through the release of her major hit movie series, and after she had broken up with Robert Pattinson, she moved back to her mother’s home. This was more a case of finding comfort after a lot of havoc but definitely, shows the love between the mother-daughter duo.
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#5. Selena Gomez: She might be the hottest celebrity in town and living a life that can only be described as glamorous but deep within the star is a girl who is deeply connected to her family. Born to a 16-year-old single mother, Selena feels her strength comes from her mom, and she loves to stay at home and spend time with her.
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#6. Dev Patel: Coming from an Indian Gujarati background, it is no surprise that Dev is a family person. He is immensely fond of his parents and his shy sister. He attributes his fame to the devotion and trust, his parents showed towards him and wants to share his success with his folks.
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#7. Rafael Nadal: He is one of the best tennis players in the world and has tasted success and all its accompanying advantages, but still, Nadal is deeply rooted and considers his family to his center of stability. In his own words, they are ‘the holy, untouchable core of his life.'
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#8. Michelle Obama: The former first lady of the house never let her position and stature come in the way of her love for her mother. Marian Robinson, Michelle’s mom is very much the part of the Obama entourage and was deeply loved and revered at the White House.
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#9. Julia Roberts: America’s Sweetheart was also her mother’s darling as the mother-daughter duo shared an incredible bond. Betty Lou had moved in with Julia and her husband after the death of her other daughter Nancy, who was Julia Robert’s half-sister. Betty was battling cancer and died in 2015.
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