Elder abuse, ageism, human rights and citizenship: implications for nursing discourse

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Elder abuse is a significant social issue in society. Although this area has generated an increasing research base, there is scant literature on elder abuse viewed through the lens of ageism and its sway on human rights and citizenship. These three perspectives on the topic allow for a meaningful and equitable benchmark from which elder abuse may be considered. Ageism influences the way human rights and citizenship are articulated for older people and is conceptualised as stereotypical views of older people leading to prejudiced attitudes, actions and societal marginalisation. Such attitudes function to both disadvantage and devalue older people providing a covert basis for societal tolerance of elder abuse. This paper reviews pertinent literature in the area of elder abuse, human rights, citizenship and ageism, and argues that although society aspires to certain ideals in terms of equality and valuing the human individual, these aspirations may often be questionable in terms of older people and abuse.

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