In 1928, Louis Israel Dublin wrote “An improvement in Negro health, to the point where it would compare favorably with that of the white race, would at one stroke wipe out many disabilities from which the race suffers, improve its economic status and stimulate its native abilities as would no other single improvement. These are the social implications of the facts of Negro Health.” (Dublin, 1928). Still today, this idea remains the same. Research states that people of African descent are deemed the unhealthiest population in this country. This phenomenon is not by chance but intentional. “The first African Americans were brought to the USA in chains as slaves. The transport itself from Africa to the New World remains one of the best examples of the ability of one sector of humanity to destroy the health of another. Estimates of the death rate of slaves during the infamous “middle passage” are wide ranging, from approximately 9 to 35 %. Slavery associated deaths were likely much higher” (Cohn, Jensen, Miller, 1982).
Researchers stated, “Once enslaved in what is now the USA, African Americans were forced to live in physical and social conditions in which their health had very little value. For more than 250 years, enslaved African Americans suffered physical, social, and mental brutalization. The end of slavery did not mean that African Americans could suddenly lead healthful lives. To the contrary, they have been subjected to systematic discrimination and oppression for the 150 years since slavery was abolished, and it continues nowadays” (Klein, Engerman, Haines, Shlomowitz, 2001). Elder abuse is now one of the consequences of these results. Because elders of African descent have encountered so many injustices, they found it very difficult if not impossible, to trust their lives to government authorities or any other outside help. They find themselves having to depend on family members or other caregivers, whom may have issues they are dealing with in thier own lives.
The World Population Prospects states, ‘Older adults are the fastest growing segment of the population worldwide, with the number of persons aged 60 years or over expected to almost triple within the next few decades, from 672 million in 2005 to nearly 1.9 billion by 2050. As they grow older, these populations are especially vulnerable and at risk for being abused. The exploding older population makes elder abuse an emerging issue for those responsible to care for this population’ (2005). It is important that everyone is aware of the abuse and the causes. Understanding this phenomenon, can provide a better opportunity for improved quality of care and life for the elder of African Descent.