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 - Victim And Perpetrator Characteristics

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Some studies have addressed specific types of elder abuse and/or neglect to identify the characteristics associated with each. The findings from these studies produced three distinct patterns of victim and perpetrator characteristics. Victims of both physical and psychological elder abuse were found to be both men and women who were young-old (sixty-five to seventy-four years), married, more independent in activities of daily living but in poor emotional health with low morale, in troubled marriages, living with others, lacking confidants, and socially isolated. Their perpetrators were often spouses who had histories of mental illness or problems, had abused alcohol, had a recent decline in mental and/or physical health, were dependent on and lived with the victim, and had experienced recent stress. The perpetrators' characteristics and the quality of the abuser-victim relationship were more related to the abuse than the victims' characteristics, which left victims with few resources for dealing with the abuse.

Participants in material abuse, or exploitation, had a different set of characteristics. Victims tended to be unmarried (widowed, divorced, or never married), older women or men who lived alone and had problems with money management and transportation. They lacked adequate social supports or confidants. Health problems, poor morale, and/or depression limited their activities. Their perpetrators tended to be younger, distant relatives or nonrelatives who abused alcohol and had physical or emotional problems. They did not live with the victims but were financially dependent on them. In material abuse, the victims' characteristics seemed to make them vulnerable to perpetrators who could not function independently (Anetzberger, Korbin, and Austin; Pillemer; Podnieks; Wolf, Godkin, and Pillemer).

In contrast to elder abuse, in which perpetrator characteristics seem to be most relevant, the victims' characteristics seem to be most relevant to elder neglect. Based on studies that compared abuse with neglect, neglect victims were more often old-old (eighty years and older), widowed, disabled women who were dependent on caregivers due to poor health and physical and/or mental impairment. Often they lived with the person who neglected them and had few other people in their social networks. The male and female perpetrators were family members and unrelated caregivers who had experienced losses in their own support system, and viewed the elder as the source of stress (Podnieks; Wolf, Godkin, and Pillemer).

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