The Aging Working Group and the Trauma Working Group of the Official College of Psychology of the Region of Murcia have confirmed to Ep that the isolation of the elderly in order to protect them from COVID-19 has exacerbated an already existing traumatic vulnerability in this sector of the population: the feeling of unwanted loneliness. This has been made known by both working groups of the Official College of Psychology of the Region of Murcia on the occasion of the celebration of the World Day for the awareness of abuse and mistreatment of the Elderly that is celebrated on June 15.
And it is that the restriction of social and family relationships with the emotional deprivation that this entails, generates feelings in the elderly of uncertainty, fear and insecurity, as the two groups have pointed out in statements to Europa Press. Thus, they point out that to this deprivation must be added specific factors such as the lack of knowledge in technological communication tools, previous traumatic experiences that are reactivated in conditions of loneliness and emotional deprivation, solitary admission to hospitals and the surprising nature and media coverage of COVID-19.
“This continuing psychological stress produces a serious breeding ground that will subsequently lead to different important pathologies, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),” as clarified by the aging working groups and the Trauma working group. of the Official College of Psychology of the Region.
On the other hand, these professionals regret that, on many occasions, “institutional abuse has been produced due to the fact that the institutions have not been able to adequately manage the psychological protection necessary to promote the physical autonomy and mental health of old people”. Thus, they give as an example the unexpected closure of day centers in an unexpected way has led to a worsening of previous pathologies.
The most common types of abuse
These two working groups have pointed out that, according to the data available in the Region of Murcia, it can be seen that among the types of abuse that exist towards the elderly, there are, above all, the economic abuse, psychological abuse, neglect, followed by physical and sexual abuse.
In addition, they have remarked that it is a problem worldwide since, according to the WHO (2021), it is a situation that occurs daily. “Approximately one in 6 people over the age of 60 had suffered some type of abuse in community settings,” as they have pointed out. On the other hand, they have confirmed that there is mistreatment of the elderly that usually go unnoticed because, on occasions, they hide behind negligent behavior or abandonment.
In this sense, the General Council of Psychology calls for professional care devices and exclusive psychological care for the elderly in crisis situations such as a pandemic; or that policies for the prevention of mistreatment of the elderly be expanded.
Likewise, it requests that psychological help be available in the process of adaptation to changes and losses, as well as the fact that the institutions (nursing professionals, auxiliaries, etc.) be provided with more personnel so that a multidisciplinary approach is achieved to an optimal quality of life.
In the same way, it considers that it is necessary to make society aware of the fact that there are certain risk factors that can alert us when detecting possible cases of abuse towards the elderly. They cite, for example, possible unexplained emotional or behavioral changes, tensions between family members or with primary caregivers, changes in financial situation or possessions, stress or burden on the primary caregiver, etc.