Jan 2, 2014
Aging & Mental Health
Objectives: Elder abuse and neglect is an increasing concern that adversely affects the health and well-being of older people in most societies. The purpose of this paper is to describe the psycho-social impact of elder mistreatment on the health and well-being of older Korean people living in New Zealand. Method: Data were collected from in-depth interviews. The lived experiences of elder abuse and neglect were studied with 10 older people who were, or who had been, mistreated in their family context. To analyse the data collected, a combined analysis approach was employed using traditional code-based techniques and a concept-mapping method. Results: The findings of the study show that the effects of elder mistreatment were complex and multidimensional. The older persons who were mistreated in family settings experienced a range of emotional, psychological distress and physical symptoms. Many of them identified ‘Hwa-byung’ (literally anger disease) as a health issue associated with suppressed emotions of anger, demoralisation, heat sensation and other somatised symptoms. Conclusion: Elder abuse and neglect is a traumatic life event that has considerable psycho-social impacts on older people experiencing the problem. It is important to recognise the power of multidimensional challenges caused by elder mistreatment in health and well-being.