The information in this resource came out of focus groups that were conducted with older adults and professionals to discuss the issue of Domestic Violence in Later Life (DVLL). This list does not take the place of other resources regarding DVLL, it simply suggests some of the unique concerns when it comes to individuals experiencing domestic abuse as an older adult.
- Shame/stigma associated with Domestic Violence. There may be a feeling that family members, friends and members of the community may say or think "Why did you wait so long if this was a long-term partner?" or "Why are you bringing this up NOW?"
- Not wanting to leave home and/or community. This is especially true if the person has lived there all their lives. They may have a fear that they will end up in a nursing home.
- Lack of information or a forum for discussing domestic violence in later life.
- What if I have the courage to ask for help, and I am denied resources? There is a concern about someone in need of help being turned away because they don't qualify for services...older adults are also doubtful that services actually exist.
- They simply don't know where to go.
- Financial barriers. Older adults may have a difficult time leaving an abuser if they are dependent on them financially. Many individuals don't have a way of supporting themselves alone...and they are less likely to be able to get a job---both because of age and lack of education and training.
- Don't want to ask for help. This addresses both individuals being too proud to ask for assistance, services and programs AND being too proud to "take a handout" financially.
- Family issues. Many individuals may not want to call attention to abuse and embarrass your family, tarnish your family's image. May not want to sever a relationship. Perhaps your children don't fully know what you have gone through for years---you may worry about what will happen if they find out. Will they believe you? What will they do to their father?
- Child as caregiver. As an older adult you may be dependent on others, such as an adult child, and you may not want to blow the whistle on your caregiver, source of transportation, etc.
- Lack of resources for addressing caregiver stress. Perhaps there need to be additional resources to address the stress caregivers are feeling...so they can talk to other people in similar situations...and so education can be provided on dealing with conflict---so no family violence or abuse occurs (caregiver to elder and vice versa).