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date: 25 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The world has an ageing population, and the number of people aged 60 years or above is expected to rapidly increase over the next decade. Elder abuse is prevalent across the globe and exists in both developed and developing countries. It has emerged as a serious social problem only in the last twenty years, although historical references can be found for centuries. The phenomenon is underreported and sometimes difficult to establish. There are various definitions of elder abuse, some of which will be discussed in this chapter. The context in which elder abuse occurs and the implications of this concept in relation to current Human Rights legislation is addressed. The risk factors for being abused include memory problems, physical disabilities, depression, loneliness or lack of social support, alcohol and abuse of substances, and being verbally or physically combative with a care-giver. Intervention studies aimed at preventing elder abuse have reported various outcomes. Alarmingly, elder abuse is suspected to be a major source of morbidity and mortality in older people.

Keywords: elder abuse, neglect, risk, morbidity, intervention

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