About 10 Percent of Older Adults Experience Elder Abuse
Busy physicians caring for older adults are likely to encounter a victim of some type of elder abuse on a frequent basis, regardless of whether the physician recognizes the abuse, according to a new article reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The article notes that consensus has been reached about the five major types of elder abuse: physical, psychological or verbal, sexual, financial, and neglect – or the failure of a designated caregiver to meet the needs of a dependent older person.
“When the available evidence is taken into consideration, an estimated overall prevalence of elder abuse of approximately 10 percent appears reasonable,” according to report authors.
The article also notes that:
Most studies indicate that older women are more likely than older men to be victims of abuse
Younger older adults have a greater risk of abuse, with the authors saying the “young old” more often live with a spouse or adult children who are two groups most likely to be abusers
Those with functional impairment are at a high risk of abuse as are those with a lower income
Isolation and lack of social support are also important risk factors for elder abuse
The authors, speaking to the medical community, say that people suspected to be victims or perpetrators of elder abuse should be interviewed separately and alone because a relative or caregiver may be the abuser and because victims may be hesitant to reveal mistreatment when others are present because of embarrassment or shame.
Argentum offers a free Tool Kit: Protecting Older Americans from Financial Abuse to aid senior living staff help curb financial abuse among older Americans and educate residents and families on the issue.
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