Elder abuse and neglect--"old phenomenon": new directions for research, legislation, and service developments. (2008 Rosalie S. Wolf Memorial Elder Abuse Prevention Award--International Category Lecture).

Center for Research and Study of Aging, Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences, The University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel.
Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect 07/2009; 21(3):278-87. DOI: 10.1080/08946560902997637
Source: PubMed


This article poses the question: Is elder abuse and neglect a social problem, showing that it is. Elder abuse, though, is still the most hidden form of mistreatment and a key to governmental responses to an ageing population. It is an important facet as a family violence problem, an intergenerational concern, as well as a health, justice and human rights issue. Because the phenomenon of elder abuse and neglect is so complex and multi-dimensional, it has to be addressed by multi-professional and inter-disciplinary approaches. Raising awareness is a fundamental prevention strategy and an important step in causing changes in attitudes and behaviors. This has been accomplished by INPEA and the article was developed from the lecture given by the author on receiving the International Rosalie Wolf Award from INPEA. The discussion focuses on elder abuse as a product of global ageing, stemming from population ageing, which is consistent with an increased prevalence of abuse of all vulnerable groups, older people among them. It is pointed out that baseline and trend data on the nature and prevalence of senior abuse are crucial to policy responses and the development of appropriate programs and services. Difficulties in assessing the scope of the phenomenon, though, are due to: problems in definitions and methodology, which create difficulties in comparing data from various countries; lack of social and familial awareness; isolation of some elders, especially migrants; elder abuse as a 'hidden issue' that usually occurs in the privacy of the home and is viewed as a family affair; limited access to institutional settings. Difficulties also exist in constructing a unifying research framework in order to study the phenomenon due to a lack of comparison groups, a lack of representative national surveys and difficulties in measurement. There is currently, however, an increase in prevalence and incidence studies from both sides of the Atlantic and especially from Europe. But while prevalence studies provide base-data on numbers, little is known about key conceptual issues for policy, practice and the understanding of different forms of abuse and neglect. Theoretical under-development hampers the collection of systematic cumulative knowledge which is based on universally agreed upon and standardized tools, and reduces the ability to discover unifying themes and their relationship to local idiosyncrasies existing in the field. Additionally, there has been no attempt to develop theoretical knowledge grounded in data from the study of elder abuse itself. The following vehicles for action are, thus, suggested: Developing international, national and regional research agendas and data bases; developing policy and legislation; developing services and interventions and developing educational programs.

85 Reads
  • Source
    • "According to the Iran's Ministry of Health reports, aged population in Iran constitutes 6% of Iran's population and will increase to 19% by the year 2030.3 In accordance with population aging, their associated problems will increase too, which include disability and dependency due to physical and mental disorders.4 One of the most common and yet often not recognized problems especially in developing countries is elder abuse.56 "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study aimed to determine the types of elder abuse, their risk factors and the characteristics of abusers among abused elderly people aged above 60 years in Isfahan. In a cross-sectional study, abused elderly individuals aged above 60 years that referred to the centers of competent jurisdiction with complaint against a person harassing them were studied during 2008-2009. The demographic profiles of the abused and abusers were collected by physicians who worked in forensic medical centers, using a questionnaire. The type of abuse was classified as physical, emotional, sexual and neglect. The prevalence of physical, emotional and sexual abuse as well as neglect in 68 individuals who were intentionally abused was 100%, 100%, 0% and 11.8%, respectively. Abused subjects were healthy, unemployed and illiterate men and women (similar sex distribution) with moderate monthly income who lived with their families, mainly in cities (p < 0.05). The abusers were mainly healthy and illiterate men, mostly the sons of the abused person, living in cities (p < 0.05). Forty six (67.6%) patients had previous history of abuse, 43 (63.2%) had more than one previous record and in 45 ones (66.2%) the previous abuse was repeated. There was no relation between elder abuse and drug and alcohol abuse (p > 0.05). The findings of this study provided a sense about the probably high prevalence of elder abuse in our community and its related risk factors.
    Journal of research in medical sciences 12/2011; 16(12):1598-604. · 0.65 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper will provide an overview and discussion of the causal and risk factors relating to elder abuse, together with some of the interventions that might be used. The issues and developments that have occurred will be briefly explored. Over the last 10years there has been increasing global recognition of the abuse and neglect of vulnerable older adults as a social problem in need of attention. A number of European countries have been working in this area but are at different stages of development. The identification of elder mistreatment remains problematic. Techniques of intervention are in quite early stages of development, although some recent progress has been made. A number of national and international organizations have been established. Various research initiatives are underway. Education and training for professionals is taking place concerning recognition of abuse and development of intervention skills. Involvement of the public and in particular older service users themselves in discussion about the issues is an essential next step in the process and public education and awareness-raising are also very important. This paper will explore some of the pertinent issues. Responses to the problem of elder abuse from a number of European countries will be examined. Some reasons for the slow development of this area will be presented and possible future developments will be considered. KeywordsElder abuse-Interventions-Conceptual frameworks-Risk factors-European perspectives
    Ageing International 09/2010; 35(3):235-252. DOI:10.1007/s12126-010-9065-0
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Although in recent years more prevalence data on elder abuse is available, especially from Europe, there is lack of a consistent conceptual paradigm which might help in developing more unified definitions and understanding of the factors related to elder abuse and neglect, especially in domestic settings. The paper attempts to develop a new conceptual perspective to understand this phenomenon of elder abuse in familial settings, based on linkages between the paradigms of intergenerational family solidarity-conflict and intergenerational family ambivalence, and stress theories especially the ABCX model of coping with stress situations. KeywordsElder abuse and neglect-Caregiving-Solidarity-conflict-Ambivalence-Stress
    Ageing International 09/2010; 35(3):215-227. DOI:10.1007/s12126-010-9068-x
Show more