There are many types of elder abuse and one of the most prevalent categories is neglect. When it comes to people who are vulnerable due to age or illness, there are unfortunately ways in which harm can come to them, including oversight of needs.
There is some discrepancy between experts in how to define elder abuse, and the National Center on Elder Abuse stated that “experts have reported that knowledge, funding, and research about elder abuse lags as much as two decades behind the fields of child abuse and domestic violence.” The National Council on Aging states that “1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse” and only 1 in 14 cases are reported, and in 60% of cases the perpetrator is a family member.
Despite the variances between studies on elder abuse, studies tend to find neglect as the most prevalent form of abuse in this population.
The National Institute on Aging defines neglect as, “occurs when the caregiver does not try to respond to the older person’s needs.”
Still another definition goes into more detail. “Failure by a caregiver or other responsible person to protect an elder from harm, or the failure to meet needs for essential medical care, nutrition, hydration, hygiene, clothing, basic activities of daily living or shelter, which results in a serious risk of compromised health and safety,” the Centers for Disease for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains on their website. “Examples include not providing adequate nutrition, hygiene, clothing, shelter, or access to necessary health care; or failure to prevent exposure to unsafe activities and environments.”
As neglect persists, a person’s overall well-being can be negatively impacted and lead to depression and high levels of distress, according to the CDC. In addition, physical ailments can worsen.
Creating Security and Preventing Elder Abuse and Neglect
Just because someone is vulnerable and needs assistance does not mean that elder abuse will occur. There are ways to prevent elder abuse, according to experts, and thereby create a greater sense of security for senior loved ones:
The National Center on Elder Abuse provides resources for reporting suspected abuse on their website.
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