Elder Abuse: Guidelines for Treatment

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Book Chapter

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Significant progress has been made in the past decades both in terms of acknowledging elder abuse as a social problem and in terms of understanding some of the possible causes and consequences of elder abuse. The excessive demands or “exhausted caregiver” theory proposes that the stress of providing care to an elderly person increases the risk that the caregiver will behave in an abusive manner. Ageism refers to attitudes toward the elderly that are characterized by a lack of valuing. Such prejudicial attitudes may lead to abusive behavior because the needs or rights of the elderly are seen as less important than the needs or rights of other people, particularly the caregiver. Elderly people who abuse substances are at greater risk for being abused than those who do not. Dependence of the caregiver on the care recipient, typically financial, has been associated with an increased probability of physical and psychological abuse. The purpose of screening is to determine whether an elderly person may be at risk for abuse. In addition to employing screening instruments, it is often useful to note the quality of interactions between the elderly person and the caregiver, if he or she is present.



Publication Title

Handbook of Forensic Psychology: Resource for Mental Health and Legal Professionals