Elder Abuse Essay

685 Words 3 Pages
Elder abuse suffered at the hands of family members is quickly becoming a major societal problem that requires immediate attention. The American Psychological Association estimates that nearly two million older adults suffer some type of abuse, typically at the hands of family (Fleck & Schmidt, p. 2). However, this number is most likely a gross underestimate as many elderly victims choose not to come forward and report the crime fearing the impact it will have on the family relationship. More people are living longer today than ever before. As a result, family members are taxed with the responsibility of providing care to this expanding population and most are ill prepared for the burden it can create in one’s daily life. The stress …show more content…
Most rely on funding at the state and local level, where state budgets are cash strapped as it is. Even though caseloads have increased significantly, Adult Protective Service programs continually faces inadequate funding and decreasing resources desperately needed to combat the problem (p. 3).
Lack of resources is only part of the problem however. The reluctance to acknowledge elder abuse, the lack of public awareness and uncertainty regarding both the ethical and legal obligations in a professional setting are additional dilemma. Elder abuse is a reportable offense however most social workers grapple with how to carry this out. Firstly, it is difficult to correctly assess the diagnosis of abuse in the elderly; particularly when they are reluctant to report it themselves. There are certain signs the helping professional should be cognizant of such as any suspicious bruising or unexplained changes in behavior. It may also be prudent to train social workers to include a financial assessment in their initial consultation with an elderly client. They can then monitor for any unusual changes in their finances.
Most states have enacted reporting laws in an effort to protect the elderly population from abuses of any kind. However, these laws are not uniform state to state and the existing ambiguity creates confusion among helping professionals. It is important to familiarize yourself with

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