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Preventing Elder Abuse: Identification of High Risk Factors Prior to Placement Decisions

 Because the dynamics of elder abuse are not readily discernible, detection and intervention are possible only after abuse has occurred. Yet, some elder abuse can be prevented by systematic assessment of the older person and the potential caregiver, as well as of the family constellation. Research findings were used to identify high risk factors associated with elder abuse, factors that can be used to guide placement decisions.

 This study mentioned that, elder abuse results from the dynamic interaction between personal, family, social and cultural values, priorities, and goals. Therefore, attention must be given to those factors which, although not causing abuse, contribute to its likelihood: poverty and unemployment, lack of community resources, intra-family cycles of abuse, and personal hedonism. Specifically, pro- posed is the assessment of potential caregivers prior to the placement of an elderly person as one method for dealing with the problem of elder abuse. Should such pre-placement assessments prove effective, the need to rely on detection and intervention after elder abuse has occurred will be reduced.


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