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Elder Abuse

Abuse and neglect of older persons have received increasing public attention in recent years. due both  to the increasing number of older people and to the stablishment of more- vocal groups to represent the r concerns. Elder abl/se :refers to physical abuse. psychological abuse. financial exploitation. and medical abuse or neglect of people age 65 or older- (Hooyman and Kiyak, 2002). Physical abuse includes malnutrition or injuries such as bruises. welts. sprains. and dislocations. In contrast. psychological abuse is made up of verbal assaults. threats. fear. and social isolation. Financial exploitation typically involves theft or misuse of the older person’s money or property by another person. Medical abuse occurs when a person withholds. or improperly administers. medications or health aids such as dentures. glasses. or hearing aids. Neglect is not providing care sufficient for the older person to maintain physical and mental health (Hooyman and Kiyak, 2(02).  According to the National Center on Elder Abuse(2003). as many as 1.6 million older people in the United States are the victims of physical or mental abuse each year. Just as with violence against children or women. it is difficult to determine how much abuse against older people occurs. Many victims are understandably reluctant to talk about it. One study indicates hat slightly over 2 percent of all older people experience physical abuse (Pillager and Fieldwork, 1988;
Atchley and Barusch, 2004). Although this may appear to be a small percentage. it represents a large number of people. Studies have shown that the victims of elder
abuse tend to be concentrated among those over age75 (Steinmetz. 1987). Most of the victims are white. middle- to lower-middle-class Protestant women. aged 75 to 85. who sufter some form of impairment (Garbarino. 1989; Benokraitis, 2002). Sons. followed by daughters. were the most frequent abusers of older persons (Frieden, 1993) There has been a widespread belief that elder abuse occurs because the older person is dependent 011 other people (Brandl and Cook- Daniels. 2002). However. studies have found almost no evidence to support that conclusion. According to the sociologist Karl Pillerner (1985). no scientific support exists for the common assumption that dependency on the part of the older person leads to abuse. To the contrary. abusers are very likely to be dependent on the older person for housing and financial assistance (Brandl and Cook-Daniels.  .2002). Today. almost every state has enacted mandatory reporting reporting laws regarding elder abuse or has provided some type of governmental protection for older persons. Cases of abuse and neglect of older people are highly dramatized in the media because they offend very central values in the United States-respect for and consideration of older persons (Atchley and Barusch.2004)

Posted on September 7, 2014 in AGING AND INEQUALITY BASED IN AGE

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