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Elder Abuse

Population-based studies have found that 4-6% of the elderly are abused in the home and most are at risk from family members. In a U.S. National Elder Abuse Incidence Study, two-thirds of the perpetrators were adult children or spouses. It has also been found that the elderly are abused in nursing homes, hospitals, or other institutions; in one study, 36% of nursing home staff stated that they had witnessed at least one physical abuse incident with an elderly patient (Nelson, 2002).

Elder abuse is defined as representing all types of abuse behavior or mistreatment toward an older adult. This includes acts of commission or omission, either intentional or unintentional. Types of abuse include physical, psychological or emotional, or financial abuse or neglect. The mistreatment results in suffering, injury, pain, violation of human rights, and a decreased quality of live. Behaviors are labeled as abusive, neglectful, or exploitative depending on duration, intensity, severity, consequences, frequency, and cultural context. Acts include threatening, humiliating, isolating, abandoning, starving, striking, burning, and taking property. Actions such as sexual assault, gun threats, or other violent acts need occur only once to be considered abuse, while an act such as one slap may not be considered abuse. One research study determined that after reaching the age of 65 years, the elderly individual had experienced physical abuse (2%), verbal aggression (1.1%), and neglect (.4%) (Wolf, 2000).

Gray-Vickrey (2001) reported that neglect occurs in 49% of substantiated elder abuse cases, emotional abuse is found in 35% of cases, financial abuse is found in 30% of cases, and physical abuse or use of physical force is found in 25% of cases. It is believed that most cases are not reported, making the problem even more prevalent and difficult to assess. The author stated that for women over 80 years, risk factors for sexual and other ...

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Elder Abuse. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 15:09, April 21, 2019, from