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Violence, Gender and Elder Abuse

Women and Violence Professor Guelakis November 1, 2010 Violence, Gender, and Elder Abuse Elderly abuse has not been researched enough. There has been recent expansion on the research of abuse of the elderly. However, it is still lacking adequate theory because there has not been enough research done, data collected on why it happens, or the characteristics of the abuser and victim.

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Women are predominantly the victims of elder abuse and men the abusers. However, there has not been a firm definition of what elderly abuse is. Some experts suggest that elder abuse should be included in the definition of domestic abuse.Experts have found in their studies that women are the majority of the physically abused where men were the larger average of elderly individuals who were neglected. However, many experts also state that focusing on the definition of elder abuse is counterproductive in focusing on the issue that women are the majority of abused victims. Feminist theorists have failed to produce enough data here, although they have the expertise to contribute to this research. One of the main problems with elder abuse is the failure to acknowledge it as a form of real abuse.The ‘caregiver’ is already excused by be given this label as the ‘carer’. There is also the focus on the elder individual as the catalyst to the abuse, by pushing the carer to his or her limits. The elder individual is seen as overly dependent and adding stressors to the caregiver. ‘Granny-battering’, as elderly abuse was once called, has turned into a closer look at the perpetrator and his characteristics instead of the victims. Experts say that more attention should be placed on the predisposing factors, such as drugs, alcohol, and dependency.Spouse and child abuse research has been found to have similar pathological characteristics to elder abuse. Social norms support elder abuse against women in that women are dependent on caregivers financially, practically, and emotionally. There is little information, however, on the strategies, tactics, or coping skills because the victims have not been heard. Unfortunately, the lack of research, along with the “denial and inability” to recognize elder abuse has made it difficult to gain knowledge and accomplishment with this very valid form of abuse.