Police charged a Mississippi woman with murder in a horrific elder abuse case this week after she allegedly poured boiling water over her paralyzed father.
The Associated Press reports Diane Coleman, 55, of Jackson, Mississippi was the primary caregiver for her father, Earl Coleman, 81. On Sept. 3, police said Diane poured boiling water on her father and severely burned him multiple places on his body. Earl Coleman died several days later, according to the report.
The elderly man was paralyzed and in a wheelchair; he had numerous medical issues, according to the report. Police said they believe Diane’s motive involved her father’s disabilities.
The National Council on Aging reports about 1 in 10 Americas over age 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse, and older Americans with physical or mental health problems are the most vulnerable. Two-thirds of the perpetrators are adult children or spouses.
These terrible cases hint at a larger problem in society with how we judge the value of a human life. The very old and the very young, those who struggle with disabilities or illnesses often are treated as less valuable because they require more care from others. And the devaluing of these vulnerable human beings comes in many forms: abuse, abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia and more.