Study: 1 in 5 elderly citizens suffers from abuse

Abuse by caretakers is more common among those suffering from senile dementia, Israel Gerontological Society study finds.

Elderly man old dude past his prime 390 (R) (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Elderly man old dude past his prime 390 (R)
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
One in every five elderly citizens in Israel suffers from some form of physical, psychological or financial abuse by those who are supposed to be taking care of him or her, according to a study to be published this week by the Israel Gerontological Society.
The study used a sample of 1,317 people over the age 60 and from all sectors of society.
Sixteen percent reported experiencing some level of abuse. The levels of abuse were significantly higher among those suffering from senile dementia, with 22% of that group saying they had experienced abuse by those who care for them.
The research was carried out by Professors Miri Cohen and Gideon Fridman, Dr.
Dana Parilutzky, social worker Ronnie Ganim and Sarah Halevi Levin from the University of Haifa and centered on elderly people in hospital emergency rooms, social welfare departments, elderly daycare centers and those receiving National Insurance Institute-provided nursing services.
Elderly Arab citizens and new immigrants from the former Soviet Union were included in the interviews and researchers also met with 412 family members.
The findings will be used to develop new tools that are more effective in identifying and detecting elder abuse.
Those who face abuse share demographic characteristics, the researchers found. A large portion of those who reported abuse or abusive behavior toward them had a low level education and faced difficult financial trouble. A significantly higher than average rate of abuse was found among elderly Arabs.
In addition, most of those suffering from abuse lived alone and received less nursing care than those who were not abused. Particularly high rates of abuse were reported among patients seen by social welfare services, and the lowest levels were among those receiving nursing care from the NII.
Among those interviewed in hospital emergency rooms and elderly daycare centers, most of the cases of abuse involved neglect.
Researchers said that most of such cases came about because of a failure to properly care for the aged and that the signs were not always recognized by professionals.