​Abuse in later life: power and control dynamics and a victim-centered response

Author(s) Spangler, Deb and Bonnie Brandi
Title Abuse in later life: power and control dynamics and a victim-centered response
Source Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association; January 2007; Vol 19, No. 6, p322-331
Date 2007
Document type Journal article
Summary This article discusses the dynamics of elder abuse, and explores the Abuse in Later Life Wheel developed by the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life. Many cases of abuse in later life involve power and control dynamics but the authors recognise other explanations can be relevant such as Alzheimer's disease, inadequate caregivers or caregiver stress. The significant consequences of abuse are discussed, including the longer recovery periods and higher mortality rates for older victims who have been physically abused and the mental health consequences from elder abuse. A number of barriers for elderly victims of abuse seeking help are identified, including a fear of being alone, financial dependency, health concerns, generational ties, cultural values and fear of retaliation. Recommendations are made for supporting elderly victims through a victim-centred approach, focusing on the safety needs of the victim and ensuring the victim is the focus not the entire family. Suggestions are provided for screening questions to identify victims of abuse and it is recommended that these should be routinely asked by mental health providers for all patients over 60 years of age. The authors conclude by recommending multi-disciplinary service provision to respond effectively to the often complex elderly abuse cases.
Keywords Elder abuse; help-seeking; domestic violence; older victims
Topic Elder abuse