Elder Abuse

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Topics: Child abuse, Abuse
In the year 2010, there were 5,961,568 reported cases of Elder Abuse. (Bureau of Justice, 2013) There are 4,139 cases of Elder abuse every minute which amounts to 9.5% percent of the Elderly population. In the State of Ohio, there were over 16,000 reported cases of Elder Abuse in 2010.(Cleveland Seniors Association, 2010) That number is expected to be higher because most cases are not reported. According to the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, 90% of the abusers are family members. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, “Elder abuse is any form of mistreatment that results in harm or loss to an older person (60 or older).” (NCPEA, 2013) Elder abuse is not just a nursing home issue. It can occur in homes, elder day cares or other institutions. An “abuser” could be a spouse, family members, friends, or professionals in positions of trust. Sometimes opportunistic strangers who prey on the vulnerable will befriend an elder person, before destroying their world physically or financially.
Physical abuse of an elderly person is defined “as physical force or violence that results in bodily injury, pain, or impairment. It includes assault, battery, and inappropriate restraint.” (NCPEA, 2013) Physical abuse with the elderly is often brought on by the abuser trying to gain power or control over the victim. In the home, the abuser is often someone that lives in the home with the elderly. Studies show that the abuser is often unmarried and unemployed. Some of the abusers have substance or alcohol abuse issues. Many times the abuser is the elder’s caregiver. (NCPEA, 2013) Physical abuse can take many different forms. Examples of physical abuse can include: hitting, punching, kicking, biting, burning or restraining. There are many indicators for physical abuse in the elderly. Broken ribs and spinal injuries are uncommon with the “normal falls”. Burns from appliances, hot water or cigarettes. Abrasions that look as though they came from a



References: Bureau of Justice, “Elder Abuse in the United States” (2012) http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/ascii/vcerlem0509.txt NCPEA, National Center for Preventing Elder Abuse, “What is Elder Abuse?” 2010 www.prevenelderabuse.org/elderabuse Cleveland Seniors Association, “Elder Abuse: What Is It and How to Get Help”, 2010 www.clevelandseniors.com/forever/elder-abuse.htm National Institute of Justice, Journal Issue No. 255: “Elder Abuse in the United States”, (2006) www.nij.gov/journals/255/elder_abuse.html

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