Introduction and Background Information
The last few years has witnessed widespread abuse and neglect of elder people (Schiamberg, Heydrich, Chee & Post, 2015). At the same time, the issue of abuse against the elderly has gained critical importance in the society (Schiamberg et al., 2015). The World Health Organization and International Networks for the Prevention of the Elder Abuse, for instance, recognize the issue of abuse among the elderly population as a global problem. This is especially true given that the abuse takes place either at the community level or in nursing homes. It is estimated that the prevalence of abuse in the community is about 40% (Reay & Browne, 2002). However, there is lack of adequate data on elder abuse in institutions (Papparotto, Bidoli, & Palese, 2013). Most of the research carried out in this area has been community and family based (Papparotto et al, 2013; Payne, 2013).
The abuse of the elderly is associated with various consequences. They include, among others, reduced quality of life and negative outcomes in healthcare provision (Payne, 2013). Increased mortality and suicide rates are other consequences associated with abuse of the elderly people. It is against this backdrop that the current study is carried out. The aim of this quantitative research is to investigate abuse among the elderly persons in communities and in institutions.
Definitions of Elder Abuse
The definition of elder abuse varies from one author to another (Payne 2013). While this is so, most analysts are in agreement that this form of abuse entails one time or repeated acts of commission or omission that result in harm that threatens the wellbeing of the elderly people (Schiamberg, Oehmke, Zhang, Barboza, Griffore & Heydrich, 2012). The definition is cited by various scholars in geriatric studies (Schiamberg, 2012; Papparotto et al, 2013; Schiamberg et al., 2015). All the conceptualizations are in agreement that elder abuse is a multi-faceted phenomenon. The scholars focus on various types of elder abuse. The abuse includes, among others, physical, psychological, neglect, financial, as well as sexual abuse. It may also involve violation of personal rights (Schiamberg et al., 2015). The definitions also focus on the person who carries out the abuse and the victim of the act. Most importantly, the relationship between the victim and the person executing the abuse is analyzed. An example of these relationships includes the mutual trust and the dependency of the person being abused. The definition also centers on whether the mistreatment is an act of commission, which entails abuse, or omission, which involves neglect. It also focuses on the environment within which the abuse takes place. To this end, the commission and omission may entail domestic violence or institutional setting abuse (Schiamberg et al., 2015).
Prevalence Estimates of Abuse
Community and Domestic Setting
Various community based studies have been carried out to determine the level of elder abuse in the society. In a study carried out by Payne (2013), three domains of elder abuse, which involve physical abuse, psychological abuse, and neglect were employed. A prevalence rate of more than 3% was found. Recently, a study by Schiamberg et al. (2015) established rates of financial exploitation and psychological mistreatment to be approximately 10% and 14.2%, respectively.
Institutional and Long-Term Care Settings
As aforementioned elsewhere in this study, few research studies on elder abuse have been carried out within institutional settings. However, some of the studies carried out, such as the one by Page et al. (2009), have established the existence of all types of abuse within institutional settings. For example, using a randomized sample, Page et al. (2009) established neglect abuse at 9.8% and caretaking abuse at17.4%. In addition, they found out that emotional abuse stood at 10.0%, while neglect was at 9.8%. The above were the most common types of elder abuse in institutional settings.
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Schiamberg, L., Heydrich, L., Chee, G., & Post, L. (2015). Individual and contextual determinants of resident-on-resident abuse in nursing homes: A random sample telephone survey of adults with an older family member in a nursing home. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 61(2), 277-284.
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