Individuals who have witnessed or been victims of family violence are more likely to try to resolve challenging and difficult life situations with violent tactics they learned in their formative growth.
Although 90% of perpetrators of elder abuse are reported to be family members, this cannot account for all cases (Fulmer, Guadagno, Bitondo, Dyer, & Connolly, 2004).
Dysfunctional family lives, cultural issues, and caregiver inadequacies have been implicated as contributing factors.
Awareness of such factors may help nurses understand and anticipate situations where maltreatment may be preventable.
Health care providers can expect to see a steady increase in the number of cases of elder maltreatment as the older adult population rapidly increases.
THEORIES OF ELDER ABUSE Elder abuse is a complex problem with multiple risks and causes.Every man, woman, and child deserves to be treated with respect and caring.Individuals of all ages deserve to be protected from harm by caregivers (American Psychological Association, 2006).Several theories attempt to explain the existence and increasing occurrence of elder abuse.The transgenerational, or social learning, theory asserts that violence is a learned behavior.Significant policy developments during the past 20 years have focused on eliminating abuse.However, a deficit in health care providers’ knowledge and clinical skill application remains.Researchers have also sought to grasp the full scope and causes of maltreatment among older adults.Laws that require health care providers to report suspected cases have been instituted in nearly every state. population ages, demands placed on health care systems to care for older adults are increasing.A decade later, studies confirmed that the problem was common in the United States as well. The National Center on Elder Abuse was established as part of the Administration on Aging’s Elder Care Campaign.Adult Protective Services programs now exist in every state to serve vulnerable adults, particularly older adults, who may be at risk for abuse and neglect.