This chapter explores the unique characteristics of violence against family elders. It reviews the trends that have guided the salience of elder abuse throughout history and provides an overview of the risk factors that make the elderly a vulnerable population for victimization, such as the physical and cognitive changes associated with aging and illness. The role of caregiver stress, ignorance, and impairment, and various cultural factors and social conditions are explored. The chapter investigates the issues associated with measuring elder abuse as a social problem and explores the various forms such abuse takes including physical, emotional, financial, and sexual abuse; neglect, self-neglect, abandonment, and the violation of rights. The consequences of elder abuse are reviewed including fatalities and the physical, psychological, economic, and legal effects.
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