Other Free Encyclopedias » Medicine Encyclopedia » Aging Healthy - Part 2 » Elder Abuse and Neglect - Definitions And Types Of Abuse And Neglect, Incidence And Prevalence, Victim And Perpetrator Characteristics, Prevention And Intervention

Elder Abuse and Neglect - Incidence And Prevalence

age nursing social differences percent mistreatment found reported

Determining the incidence and prevalence of elder abuse and neglect is very difficult, mainly because most cases are not known to anyone out-side of the situation. Also, differing definitions of abuse and neglect, reporting agencies not keeping adequate information, and important differences in study methods have made reliable data elusive. While the actual incidence and prevalence of elder mistreatment in domestic and institutional settings is unknown and can only be estimated, all of the studies clearly indicate that most cases are unreported in spite of mandatory reporting laws in all fifty states. Nevertheless, estimates from five studies provide some indications of the extent of elder neglect and abuse.

From interviews with community-dwelling elders in Boston, Pillemer and Finkelhor estimated that yearly in Massachusetts some 3.2 percent of older adults are physically or psychologically abused or neglected by their caregivers (financial and social abuse and self-neglect were not included). Yet only one in every fourteen of these cases came to professional attention in spite of the state's mandatory reporting law. In their survey of nurses and nurses' aides from area nursing homes, Pillemer and Moore found that 36 percent of the staff had seen at least one incident of a resident being physically abused in the previous year, while 81 percent had seen psychological abuse. Most of this mistreatment did not get reported to authorities. Another study, in which older adults were interviewed, found that 7.5 percent of the respondents reported that they had been physically, psychologically, socially, or financially abused since turning sixty-five years of age (Hudson and Carlson, 1998, 1999). If neglect or self-neglect were added, the prevalence rate would be higher.

Tatara conducted a survey to estimate the national incidence of domestic elder mistreatment. Based on data from only twenty-nine states, he estimated that 735,000 elders were victims of abuse or neglect during 1991, while another 842,000 were victims of self-neglect. He also found that only 14.4 percent of these cases of mistreatment were reported to protective services agencies. The National Elder Abuse Incidence Study (Takamura and Golden) included reported and unreported cases of abuse, neglect, and self-neglect. The findings suggested that some 551,011 adults over the age of sixty living in domestic settings (institutional mistreatment was not included) were abused or neglected during 1996, and for every reported case of mistreatment, approximately five went unreported. Neglect was the most common form of mistreatment found, followed by psychological abuse, financial abuse, and physical abuse. As compared to their composition in the older adult population, women were disproportionately represented in all the abuse categories, and men were disproportionately found in the abandoned group. The neglect cases showed a more proportional distribution between men (40 percent) and women (60 percent).

Elder Abuse and Neglect - Victim And Perpetrator Characteristics [next] [back] Elder Abuse and Neglect - Definitions And Types Of Abuse And Neglect

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