Warning Signs  for Elder Abuse During Care

It is estimated that about 16% of the elderly worldwide have been victims of abuse. There is not enough data about this internationally, particularly in less developed or developing countries in variosu parts of the world.

The main advances in effect today to prevent abuse toward elders.

Andrea Prates: Abuse is found in several countries. The difference is how each country defines it, leading to no cultural understanding.  Differences in protection mechanisms in place to prevent and prohibit [abuse]. We see different actions used in developed countries compared with the lower developed countries. First National Center on Elder Abuse was established in 1988 in the U.S.  Having an agency specialized in this area, that conducts research, training sessions, shares information, and monitors incidents, greatly facilitates the prevention of this type of abuse. In Brazil, the Ministry of Human Rights and Citizenship has a telephone line that works well — Dial 100. It receives all complaints to do with human rights violations.

The main perpetrators of abuse of elders?

Prates:  67% of reported cases, the aggressors are family members or people close to the elder. This circumstance makes it difficult to obtain accurate data. When elders live with their aggressors, they are often restrained, intimidated, and may have difficulty recognizing the abuse against them. Nevertheless, there are cases where friends, neighbors, or close ones identify signs of violence and report the abuse.

Most common types of abuse?


The most common is neglect, includomgs lack of basic care, withholding food and medications, lack of hygiene, lack of protection against the cold, and anything else involving basic personal care.

Next is psychological abuse. This  involves an array of actions and expressions, including contempt, prejudice, discrimination, and verbal abuse.

Third is financial violence, which is very common among family members, and manipulation by other people and even financial institutions.  Elders often fall victim to several types of scams, even ones involving romantic relationships. There have been dramatic cases of manipulation and asset appropriation.

It is important to note that, according to data across all studies and from [elder protection] services, women are more often the victims of this abuse compared to men. Women face many conditions specific to the female ageing process and often have a lower quality of life and lack independence or autonomy.

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