Elder abuse: Overview of sources, prevalence and intervention initiatives

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Felix O. Chima


This paper is about elder abuse as a social problem from the perspective of its sources, preva­lence and intervention initiatives. The true incidence of elder abuse is difficult to determine because elder abuse is known to be very underreported. Literature, however, suggests that elder abuse is widespread and that probably hundreds of thousands of elderly persons are victimized each year. Because the older adult population is increasing in numbers at a rapid pace, there is little doubt that elder abuse will be among the nation's problems. This article discusses trends and prevalence of elder abuse and neglect. A discussion of social reconstruc­tion theory and its effects on the elderly is provided. The empowerment perspective is dis­cussed as the conceptual framework for professionals in their roles as elder abuse advocates and social service providers. Intervention initiatives recommended include: awareness of poli­cies and services, policy evaluation research, caretaker assistance, and advocacy.

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