Elder Abuse As An Important Global Public Health And Societal Problem

3755 Words May 21st, 2015 16 Pages
Elder abuse is the psychological, physical, financial or sexual mistreatment, of a person aged 65 years or more, as a result of an exploitation of trust between the victim of abuse and the perpetrator.1 This includes intentional or unintentional neglect.1 Risk factors for elder abuse include impaired cognitive function, social isolation and major life transitions such as widowhood.1 The act of abuse incorporates both the acts of commission and omission of care for the elderly, whether domestically, institutionally or self-inflicted.1 As a result of abuse and exploitation, the elderly lose their independence, health, life-savings and dignity, leading to increased dependency and sense of helplessness. There is also an associated increase in mortality.2 The World Health Organisation (WHO) identifies elder abuse as an important global public health and societal problem.3 The magnitude of the problem is expected to increase as the global population of aged 60 and over is predicted to rise to 1.2 billion by 2025.3

There is a paucity of research data surrounding elder abuse in New Zealand. Following a comprehensive literature search, no population-based studies of elder abuse have been conducted in New Zealand.1 It is assumed that an estimated 5% of the older adult population have been subject to some forms of abuse.4 The 2013 census data estimates that between 12,700 and 21,700 people over the age of 65 may have experienced abuse in 2013.5 Age Concern New Zealand, the…

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