Aging and Human Rights

Currently the population of the United States as well as other countries throughout the world is rapidly aging. Unfortunately, the demographics are changing at a faster rate than services or resources to meet the needs of aging individuals.

This page contains information concerning:
  • Elder Abuse and Neglect

  • Ageism

  • Gay & Lesbian Aging

  • Long-Term Care Facility Selection Guide

  • Knowledge of Aging Quiz

  • Links

Elder Abuse and Neglect

As the number and percentage of individuals 65 and over has increased in this country, so has the incidence of elder abuse. Unfortunately, the prevalence and nature of this growing problem has generally remained hidden from public view. It is imperative that both professionals and lay persons become more aware of the scope and many issues surrounding this sensitive topic.

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American society has been described as maintaining a stereotypic and often negative perception of older adults. This negative and/or stereotypic perception of aging and aged individuals is readily apparent in such areas as language, media, and humor. The term used to describe this stereotypic and often negative bias against older adults is "ageism".

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Gay and Lesbian Aging

Social service workers are becoming increasingly aware that there exists a large population of older gay and lesbian individuals. Estimates range from 1.75 to 3.5 million older gay men and lesbians in the United States. To put these figures in perspective, this is approximately equal to or two times greater than the number of older adults living in a nursing home setting. As this population has been little studied or even acknowledged to exist, few programs are provided to meet the special needs of these individuals.

Many myths and negative stereotypes exist concerning the aged and the homosexual. Together, the older gay or lesbian suffers from a double stigma in American society. The image of the older gay man or lesbian as depressed, isolated, desperate, and sexless is prevalent. This image, however, does not hold up empirically .

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Long-Term Care Facility Selection Guide

Tips for Selecting a Short-Term/Long-Term Care Facility (Nursing Home) - At some point in your life, you may need to select a care facility either for yourself or, more likely, for someone you love. It may be that the need for full-time care is brief following a hospitalization or injury. Or, the need may be long-term as your loved one may no longer be able to care for himself/herself as the result of dementia, other debilitating illness, or injury. The process of selecting a short/long-term care facility can be a difficult one. Often the decision needs to be made quickly and occurs within the context of strong emotions such as quilt, fear, and doubt. Therefore, the tips provided may serve to focus one's thoughts and enable the best decision to be made for all involved.

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Knowledge of Aging Quiz

How much do you think you know about the aging process or older adults? For example, do you know what happens to memory or intelligence with age? Do you know what percent of older adults are suffering from some form of dementia or are living in a long-term care facility (nursing home)?

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Due to a high volume of mail, Dr. Woolf can not respond to all requests for information. Your local university library will provide you access to many journals and books concerning the topic of gerontology.