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Elder abuse and neglect

Karun K. Karki SOCW-575 Policy and Program Planning for Older Adults MSW School of Social Work Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Submitted to: Dr. Jurkowski 13 May, 2011

ELDER ABUSE AND NEGLECT ACT Elder abuse and neglect

Elder abuse is a term referring to any negligent act by a caregiver or any other adult that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult. As the older population increases, the problem of abused, neglected and exploited elderly will grow. The type of mistreatment to which older adults are subjected include physical, sexual and emotional abuse; neglect of basic needs, and financial exploitation of every kind. The abuses are almost always the older adults own family members or caregivers. Elder abuse can be defined in several ways. Physical abuse means inflicting physical pain or injury upon an older adult. Sexual abuse means touching, fondling, intercourse, or any other sexual activity with an older adult, when the older adult is unable to understand, unwilling to consent, threatened or physically forced. Emotional abuse means verbal assaults, threats of abuse, harassment or intimidation. Passive neglect means the caregivers failure to provide an older adult with lifes necessities, including, but not limited to, food, clothing, shelter or medical care. Willful deprivation means willfully denying an older adult medication, medical care, shelter, food, a therapeutic device or other physical assistance, and thereby exposing that person to the risk of physical, mental, or emotional harm expect when the older adult has express an intent to forego such care. Financial exploitation means the misuse or withholding of an older adults resources by another, to the disadvantage of the older adult or the profit or advantage of someone else. The types of elder abuse reported from FY 2008 data are presented in the following figure.

ELDER ABUSE AND NEGLECT ACT Types of Elder Abuse Reported

Confinment Sexual Abuse 5% 3% Physical Abuse 12% Emotional Abuse 26% Passive Neglect 22%

Financial Exploitation 32%

Source: Types of Elder Abuse reported from FY 2008 The given data is derived from State of Illinois Department on Aging, This above data are clear that many older adults who live at home are at risk of abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation by family members and other close to them. As reported in a booklet Elder Abuse and Neglect Act published by Illinois Department on aging, 2009, over 76,000 persons over the age of 60 in Illinois are elder abuse victims; yet, approximately 10,000 elderly victims are reported to the Elder Abuse and Neglect Program annually. Victims of abuse are often isolated, and they may be afraid or unable to sick help for themselves. As the number and percentage of individuals 65 and over has increased in this country, so has the incidence of elder abuse. Unfortunately, the prevalence and nature of this growing problem has generally remained hidden from public view. It is imperative that both professionals

ELDER ABUSE AND NEGLECT ACT and lay persons become more aware of the scope and many issues surrounding this sensitive topic. It is essential that the incidence of abuse and awareness of the range and breadth of various types of abuse should be discussed and understood. However, an awareness of the problem of elder abuse is not enough. Therefore, issues surrounding detection of abuse and strategies for prevention and intervention are very essential to be addressed.