Effective Responses to the Problem of Elder Abuse

Effective Responses to the Problem of Elder Abuse
For millions of Americans, elder abuse is an unfortunate consequence of aging. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) estimates that one in 10 seniors ages 60 and older have been abused in the U.S. Physical abuse is just one form of mistreatment that some elderly people endure in this country. They also face exploitation, sexual and emotional abuse, neglect, and the final disservice, abandonment. People who have cognitive issues are especially at risk. In the late stages of the disease, an Alzheimer’s patient may not have the cognitive ability to recognize or report their abuser.

Vulnerability

The elderly are a segment of society that is most vulnerable to abuse. Almost 50 percent of patients with dementia are abused, according to one study, and people with disabilities experience violence more often than those without a disability, according to the NCOA. Elderly people with cognitive disorders are especially at risk. Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers are often secluded, are unable to get out of the house much, and have few visitors. Unsupervised caregivers have unlimited access to those in their care.

The sad truth

Seniors are abused in nursing homes and facilities that house older adults, but it may surprise you to learn that family members commit almost 60 percent of elder abuse and neglect. Again, the abuse isn’t always physical. Exploitation is a subtler form of abuse that family members often inflict. People whom the elder trusts, rather than scammers, are responsible for 90 percent of the incidences of
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