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Identifying Potential Abusers

Potential Abusers

Elderly abuse is a frighteningly common occurrence in the United States. This phenomenon may take numerous forms, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse, and neglect. The often are often comparatively frail and weak, making it difficult for them to defend themselves against elderly abuse and exploitation.

Individuals who are suffering from conditions such as dementia are generally susceptible to manipulation because they are unable to effectively gauge the behavior of the people around them. It is common for elderly individuals to be subjected to, too, psychological abuse. This abuse may be intentional, or may take the form of implicit discrimination.

Each of these forms of abuse are particularly heinous crimes and may cause long term physical and emotional damage. Because of their inability to adequately defend themselves, abuse of the elderly is often compared to child abuse in cruelty and severity.

In most cases, abuse of the elderly is inflicted by individuals that are close to the victim. Generally, the individuals that are responsible for elderly abuse are people to whom care for the victim has been trusted. Most often, elderly abuse occurs at the victim's present residence, and it is the people living with the victim or him/her care that are most often responsible for subjecting him/her to abuse. Many of the perpetrators guilty of abuse of the elderly are individuals related to the victim. In many instances, it is the victim's children who are responsible for this physical or psychological harm.

The perpetrator may also be another relative or a family friend that spends a substantial amount of time with the victim. In some cases, it is even the victim's spouse responsible for the damage caused. Overall, the victim's primary caretaker is commonly to blame for elderly abuse; along these lines, the staff at hospitals and nursing homes are often accused of abuse of the elderly. Many people do not understand how these people, who are supposed to love and care for the victim, subject him/her to this adverse behavior.

There is no adequate excuse for elderly abuse and reason offered by perpetrators that can justify their behavior. However, there are specific causes that are often cited as provoking the abuse of the elderly. As individuals age, they often suffer from from mental conditions, such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

These disorders often cause sufferers to become confused, disoriented, and aggressive. As a result of their inability to understand their surroundings and recognize the people around them, individuals suffering from these disorders often become scared and violent. As it becomes increasingly difficult to handle these patients, caretakers become frustrated and defeated. They often allow their negative emotions to progress to rage, and eventually they may resort to violent and abusive behavior.

Meanwhile, financial abuse is generally the result of manipulative individuals looking for a defenseless and oblivious target to exploit. In all, there are many different reasons an individual may subject an elder to abuse.

NEXT: National Center on Elder Abuse

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