Elder Abuse Definition

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Chapter
Elder Abuse and the National Academy of Science
Given the complex dynamics of mutual aggression in caregiving relationships, many consider definitions of elder abuse as inadequate. –Author
Introduction
T here have been wide ranging definitions of elder abuse and mistreatment. A broader view of elder abuse is emerging. Given the complex dynamics of mutual aggression in caregiving relationships, many consider the current definitions of elder abuse as inadequate. Allowing the caregiver’s aggression to be the focal point, without considering the broader context in which the aggression happens, may lead to unfair punitive or social judgments. At some point, the various definitions will need to merge into one common definition, which
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A new definition will take into consideration the notion of a trusting relationship in which the trust of the older victim is violated. Violations of trust are classified in one of the following areas: (1) Neglect of a responsible caretaker in meeting: (a) Activities of Daily Living (ADL) such as eating, bathing, toileting, and dressing; (b) Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) such as managing finances, handling transportation (driving or navigating public transit), shopping, preparing meals, using the telephone, and other communication devices, managing medications, housework and basic home maintenance; (2) Financial exploitation; (3) Psychological (emotional or verbal abuse) and Physical Abuse (including sexual abuse). The Academy estimates that 1 in 14 cases of abuse make it to the authority’s attention.
Common Definitions of Abuse
The common definition of elder abuse is provided by the National Center on Elder Abuse: “Elder abuse is a term referring to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.” Definitions vary from state to state, and abuse may be:
• Physical Abuse - Inflicting, or threatening to inflict, physical pain or injury on a vulnerable elder, or depriving them of a basic
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States and Native America Indian Tribes have courts, laws, and ordinances to protect the elderly. These laws include adult protective services statutes, guardianship laws, state health care, and nursing home licensing laws. Medicare and Medicaid laws, traditional criminal laws (assault and battery, domestic violence), and mandated reporting laws and tribal ordinances that spell out reporting methods. A few states mandate Adult Protective Services to share information on certain types of cases. Despite these laws and protection programs, the problems of elder abuse continue.
A Few Reasons Victims Do Not Report Abuse
Many believe if they report abuse, they will lose all caregiving. They believe shame will come to the family, and abuse will get worse. They feel isolated and do not have anyone to talk to; and if their children mistreat them, so will others.
Those who abuse often cite one or more factors as to why they committed the abuse:
1. They couldn’t handle the level of care requirements of mental illness, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease
2. Substance abuse or alcoholism played a role for the caregiver or both

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