Usually when we see images of elder abuse, we are shown pictures of older women. Sad to say, many forget that men as well as women are affected by this growing health issue. In fact, abuse of older men is under-recognized. Gender stereotyping and biases do not encourage men to admit that they are victims of elder abuse.
I want to acknowledge Canada, who recognized that images of older men were underrepresented in elder abuse awareness campaigns and have used more images of older men to help the public understand that men are also victims of elder abuse.
This fact needs to be seriously examined when you consider that most men have more financial resources than their female counterparts. This means that older men are targets for financial exploitation. In terms of gender biases, society is more tolerant of an older man having a younger girlfriend more so than an older woman having a younger boyfriend. Society labels younger women dating older men for financial gain as “gold diggers” rather than calling it what it truly is, financial exploitation of the elderly. he term gold digger diminishes the fact that this is a crime.
The back story behind many of these cases is that older men rely on these women as caregivers and companionship. Many of these relationship are also sexual. Studies have shown that older adults still have strong emotional and sexual needs. Many older men, who are under the assumption that the relationship (in those cases that involve opportunistic women) is mutually beneficial. The reality is that they are opening themselves up for financial ruin.
Older gay men have experienced being exploited and financially ruin by younger men who are actually hustlers. Hustlers seek out these men, who many times are financially secure, because they may not have families and are longing for companionship.
I must add that there are many cases where family members of older gay men, who ostracized them, “re-emerge” under the guise of a reunion.
I have to go on record to say that not all relationships between older adults and younger adults are about monetary gain, but my statements are pertaining to those who are exploiters.
As I always mention, please report all incidents to the proper authorities. You can also find information on the National Center on Elder Abuse’s website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov.
Please feel free to leave your questions or comments.