Essay: Elder Abuse
This essay discusses elder abuse. Sam and Bunny Sewell a couple from Naples, Florida, runs the “Best Self Clinic,” a group, which provides counseling to couples. In the course of their work, the Sewells found an unusually large number of cases in domestic violence. Sam and Bunny, in a mass e-mailing to various news organizations, quote Change in Spouse Abuse Rates from 1975 to 1992.
Elder Abuse may take many forms. Statutory definitions of elder abuse may include physical abuse, psychological or emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, abandonment, and even self-neglect. As a result, the courts may see elder abuse in a variety of contexts: criminal cases of assault, battery, rape or theft (which may carry enhanced penalties when committed against an older person); civil fraud or conversion matters; personal injury action; guardianship or conservator ship; mental health commitment; special protective proceedings; cases involving health care decisions for an incapacitated patient; and criminal or civil cases regarding institutional care.
How many incidents of elder abuse are there each year?
The extent of elder abuse is not completely known, but it is widely agreed that the problem affects a significant number of older persons. The National Aging Resource Center on Elder Abuse (now the National Center of Elder Abuse) estimated that 820,000 elders became victims of elder abuse in 1994, excluding self-neglecting elders. Adding self-neglecting elders raised the number of victims to 1.86 million.
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