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Elder Abuse - Essay Example

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Introduction Elder abuse is a problem in the United States as well as in the rest of the world. According to Wagenaar et al. (2009), there are between 1 and 2 million elderly victims of abuse, which might include physical, psychological, financial or material abuse, as well as violating personal rights and neglect…
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Elder Abuse Essay
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Download file to see previous pages Characteristics of the Abused and the Abusers While there are many causes of abuse, certain populations have been shown to be more vulnerable than others. According to Naughton et al. (2011), the populations which are especially at risk for abuse include women, and people who have low income and/or low social and health support. For instance, they found that the elderly in Ireland who lived on the minimum pension of ?219 per week was over twice as likely to experience mistreatment as those who are living above the minimum pension. People with below average health, according to this study, were three times as likely to experience mistreatment as those people who are not experiencing below average health. People with poor social support are five times more likely to experience mistreatment as those with high social support , according to this study. Moreover, Naughton et al. (2011) also singled out perpetrators, finding that adult children made up 50% of the abusers, and that 77% of abuse happened in the elderly person’s own home. Cooper et al. (2008) also studied who was most likely to abuse elderly individuals, finding that caregivers are often perpetrators of abuse, as they found that 25% of the elderly who are dependent upon a caregiver has experienced psychological abuse, and one fifth of these elderly have experienced neglect. They state that one reason for this might be caregiver stress or because of the behavior of the elderly abuse target. Moreover, they also found that professional caregivers, in particular, exhibit a high rate of abuse behaviors – according to their study, 1/6 of professional caregivers reporting committing psychological abuse, and 10% of these professional caregivers have admitted to committing physical abuse. Although these numbers are high, they are lower than what is seen across the board with caregivers, finding that part of the reason for this is because professional caregivers only have a limited number of hours which are devoted to caregiving. Of the above characteristics, Aciemo et al. (2010) found that low social support has the highest correlation with elder abuse. They further found that it was an issue of reciprocity – they considered the possibility that elderly individuals who are experiencing abuse will report lower levels of social support. Therefore, low levels of social support would not be the cause, but, rather, one of the symptoms of abuse. However, they found that poor social support not only causes but predicts abuse, which means that poor social support may not only predict abuse but may also be used as an intervention to help combat abuse. This is echoed by Dong et al. (2011), who found that elder abuse is significantly correlated with high rates of depression and low levels of social network and social engagement. Spotting Abuse One of the main lines of defense in the war against elder abuse is physician education. Physicians who are properly trained to spot elder abuse may be able to report the abuse. That said, there may not be adequate training for physicians in this regard. This was the subject of the study done by Wagenaar et al. (2009). In this study, different groups of physicians were studied, and the focus was on finding out which groups of physicians were the most in need of more training with regards to spotting elder abuse. In particular, they focused on family practitioners and internal medicine physicians, as these tend to be the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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