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Abuse and Older Persons: Issues and Implications for Counselors

NCJ Number
Journal of Counseling and Development Volume: 65 Issue: 7 Dated: (March 1987) Pages: 376-380
J E Myers; B Shelton
Date Published
5 pages
Counselors can play a vital role in addressing the needs of older persons subject to and at risk for abuse from their families, caretakers, and themselves.
In this discussion, abuse is defined as 'the active physical abuse of an elderly dependent parent.' In a study by Sengstock et al. (1984), one-fourth of the older respondents suffered physical abuse, one-half suffered financial abuse, and more than one-half suffered psychological abuse. In an analysis of studies on elder abuse, the Select Committee on Aging (1981) concluded that elderly abuse victims are likely to be white, middle-class females 75 years old and older who are living with an adult child. Abusers of the elderly are typically middle-aged, female children of the victims who are the victims' primary caregivers. Factors contributing to elderly abuse include personal characteristics of the abuser and the abused, interpersonal characteristics of the relationship between the abuser and the abused, situational factors that increase the likelihood of abuse, and sociocultural factors that impinge on the use of violence. Counselors working with older persons and their families should be alert to risk factors for abuse and self-abuse and must follow up on interventions. Both individual and group treatment approaches will be helpful, along with advocacy efforts aimed at community interventions. 2 tables and 40 references. (Author abstract modified)


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