Elder Mistreatment: Deciding Who Is at Risk

Elder Mistreatment: Deciding Who Is at Risk

Elder Mistreatment: Deciding Who Is at Risk

Elder Mistreatment: Deciding Who Is at Risk

Synopsis

The mistreatment of elder adults and its detection by nonadult services professionals is the subject of this practical guidebook. Directed at human service professionals who provide direct services to older adults, the work provides an understanding of varieties of starting points in mistreatment identification; a discussion of risk factors and varieties of mistreatment measures; a review of the state of the art in risk instruments; and an assessment model for providers who are not specialists in geriatrics or elder mistreatment. Prospects for the future of risk assessment and prevention strategies are also discussed.

Excerpt

Most of us are aware that the older adult population is increasing because of the growing size of the population cohort and a longer life. In fact, the United Nations World Assembly on Aging in Vienna, Austria, in July 1982 reported that the elderly, worldwide, were the fastest-growing age cohort (Cantor and Little 1985: 750). We can expect this "new generation" in the life course to raise questions about their health and well- being.

At the beginning of this century, one in twenty-five persons was elderly. As we come to the end, one in eight will be in this population (U.S. Bureau of Census 1984). Currently, there are about 26 million elderly 65 and older. By the year 2030, there will be 64 million (Gilford 1988: 53). In the middle of the 1980s men age 65 could expect to live to 80, and women age 65, to 84 (National Center for Health Services 1986). By 2040, the proportion of those 65 and over will have increased from 11% in 1980 to 21% for males and from 13% to 24% for females (Pegels 1988: 22 ff.).

Along with the growth of this age group, research data suggest that most older adults are "aging well," thanks to innovations in medical technology, improved professional care and better self-care (Cantor and Little 1985:75; Gilford 1988:67; U.S. Senate, Special Committee on Aging 1988). These people are independent, maintain their own households and live in dignity and comfort in their later life. Personal, family and friendship support are very much in evidence, along with strong rela-

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