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Grace Armenta 1 Grace Armenta Intro to Sociology Institutions Paper #2 The Elderly – Discrimination or Elder Abuse
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Problem Statement – Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence does not discriminate since any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender can be a victim – or perpetrator – of domestic violence. In this case, many elderly adults are abused in relatives’ homes, facilities, and even in their own homes. The age for elderly abuse is arbitrarily taken as 65 years and older. Elderly abuse, like any other abuse, includes physical, mental, or sexual harm that can be inflicted upon an older adult, their financial exploitation, or neglect of their welfare by people who are directly responsible for their care which can be from their family and caretakers. Many victims may choose to remain reticent for fear of being cut off from their sole means of survival. In the US, Amstadter, Begle and Cisler et al. (2010) state up to 10% of the geriatric population reported interpersonal violence (Brent). Neglect is a form of abuse by omission, with the caregiver failing to meet the needs of a dependent elderly person (Lachs). In most cases, elderly abuse is pushed under the table and not considered as a serious problem towards others. Literature Review/Discussion – Some jurisdictions have specific statutes aimed at preventing elder abuse. For example, Missouri has three degrees of elder abuse, with elder abuse in the first degree defined as follows: A person commits the crime of elder abuse in the first degree if he attempts to kill, knowingly causes or attempts to cause serious physical injury, … to any person sixty years of age or older or an eligible adult as defined in [another statute] (Reid). 2
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Just as much as mental abuse, elderly people are also the victims of sexual abuse. A research study in Virginia reported that the “most common type of sexual abuse against the elderly involved women as victims of sexualized kissing and fondling (79% of reported cases),
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