Elder Abuse and Neglect in Latino Families Essay

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The authors of the article "Elder Abuse and Neglect in Latino Families" present an intricate look at the many culturally relevant factors that play a part in the development of elder abuse among Latino families in the United States. Elder abuse in general may fall under several different classifications such as physical, emotional, sexual, exploitative, or abandonment. The type of abuse most commonly associated with Latinos, however, is active neglect. This type of neglect is characterized by the failure of the caregiver to provide the elder with sufficient food, shelter, health care or emotional support. The authors identify a number of causes contributing to this trend among this particular ethnic group. Discrimination of Latinos in the United States, strong cultural gender roles, economic struggles plaguing certain parts of the community, specific factors elevating the dependence of elders on their caregivers, cultural dissent within families and the general ineffectiveness of healthcare providers to address Latino needs and are all examined as important factors concerning elder abuse. The authors make the argument that culture has a considerable impact on the occurrence and form of elder abuse.
Financial hardship is presented as one key factor that may influence abuse. The authors explain that foreign-born Latinos, due to status as an illegal immigrant or lack of a legal work permit, are prone to accepting dangerous and demanding jobs that provide very little pay. These circumstances place immense stress on the caregiver. With little time to dedicate to caring for a very reliant elder and little income to provide the elder - as well as their own families - with the proper necessities, it is quite obvious how this ethnic is...

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...nd will ultimately be ineffective.
The authors' ultimate argument that many factors related to culture can combine to significantly influence the potential for abuse is one that I strongly agree with. While it is not explicitly stated, it is implied that these cultural issues arise as the result of Latino classification as a minority in the United States. Each problem described relates either directly or indirectly to their marginalized position in society. It is therefore highly plausible that culture impacts other minorities in the United States as well, in terms of elder abuse. Discrimination, gender roles, language barriers, financial disadvantage, and are obviously applicable to many minority communities beyond the realm of Latinos, and as the article demonstrates, elders are often particularly vulnerable to suffering the consequences of these stressors.

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