The National Center on Elder Abuse described elder abuse as being usually intentional and involving any form of mistreatment that can result in physical pain, injury, or psychological suffering. These behaviors include acts of violence such as striking, hitting, slapping, beating, bruising, or restraining. It also involves force-feeding, inappropriate administration of medication and depriving of essential needs such as medical care, food and water. Elder abuse also involves emotional, sexual, and financial abuse. Research suggests that 700,000 to 1.2 million elderly people are subjected to some sort of elder mistreatment in the United States. There are 450,000 new cases annually. Elder abuse can occur in many environments, including within the family, in formal care settings, or in the community or society. This is a serious and rapidly increasing public health challenge that must be resolved. Among the elderly who are vulnerable to abuse, the capacity to make decisions may remain intact. The ability to identify and remove themselves from harmful situations, circumstances, or relationships may be diminished.
According to the Administration on Aging, the elderly population is expected to increase from 35 million in 2000 to more than 30 million in 2010 and to 55 million by the year 2020. People that are 85 years of age and older, are the fastest growing segment of the United States population. As Americans live longer, more elderly adults will be at increase risk for abuse. The National Elder Abuse Incidence Study found that only 16 percent of the abusive situations are referred for help and that 84 percent remain hidden. One consistent finding over a ten year study period shows that reports have increased each year. It has been estimated that roughly two-thirds of all elder abuse perpetrators are family members, most often the victim’s adult child or spouse. Recent studies reveal that financial abuse is one of the most common types of abuse in...
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