The article examines the issue of elder mistreatment in Macao from the perspectives of health policies and social care. From the very beginning, the authors stress that elder mistreatment is a widely neglected issue. It is explained that, although multiple studies have been conducted in the area of elder care, the causes and patterns of mistreatment are not covered sufficiently by academics. The article focuses on such aspects of the phenomenon as legislation, government regulations, and management. The authors suggest that public attention should be drawn to the problem of elder mistreatment. Also, they propose recommendations to handle and prevent such mistreatment in Macao.
The article is a review of government policies and statistical data from an executive authority of the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. The research also included interviewing social workers on the subjects of mistreatment and abuse. Findings showed that the government had been concerned with providing its senior citizens with financial aid and eldercare. However, these services are provided through the framework of the public-private partnership, i.e. the Special Administrative Region outsources some services to nonprofit organizations. The authors argue that this system is not effective enough in terms of preventing and handling elder mistreatment cases. Stronger government initiatives, including control and monitoring, are proposed as a solution.
Like any academic study, the one described in the article required conceptualization of key notions and terms used in it. First of all, elder mistreatment needed to be defined. What I was already aware of before reading the article is that the concept of elder mistreatment is broader than the physical or mental abuse of senior people.
They can as well be harmed by neglect from caregivers. As they reviewed the relevant academic literature, the authors demonstrated that much effort had been done to academically approach elder mistreatment from the perspectives of healthcare, psychology, sociology, ethics, anthropology, policymaking, management, and public regulations. The scientific community has established what can be considered as mistreatment and also defined its general causes and circumstances. Also, practical suggestions on how to combat elder mistreatment were generated.
What was new to me is the complication of addressing the issue of elder mistreatment in terms of platform and framework. The extent to which it should be approached by the government is debatable in the circles of academics and officials. In the article, however, it is argued that a way to “secure true social inclusion for the elders” (Tam, Yu, & Wu, 2014, p. 304) is to enhance government efforts to manage and coordinate various services associated with eldercare.
Tam, D., Yu, E., & Wu, A. (2014). A review on elder care and mistreatment in Macao. The Journal of Adult Protection, 16(5), 294-306.