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A Global Response to Elder Abuse - page 106 / 149





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doing things, and being patronized or not taken seriously. Each was very important, and putting them together in one question made it difficult to follow.

  • e forms of psychological abuse referred

to in the question are sometimes very dif- ficult to do anything about. Participants talked about their experiences of older people who covered up, denied, forgave or ignored some forms of psychological abuse for various reasons, but frequently because they did not want to lose the relationship they had with the abusing person.

Question 8: is question was regarded as important for detecting elder abuse, par- ticularly as there is considerable potential for financial abuse of older people.

Some argued that the two parts of the ques- tion should be separated as they were about different things.

It was stressed that some older people would not admit that they were being taken advantage of or being defrauded, especially by a family member or someone close to them. Pride and fear were very potent moti- vations for hiding this type of behaviour.

  • ere was a general feeling that the ques-

tion was inappropriate and needed to be simplified. Asking about the unwanted


signing of documents should come first, as it was thought to be less intimidating than the first part of the question. Furthermore, the terms “pressured” and “persuaded against your will” should be used rather than, or as well as, “forced”, as they include more situations in which financial abuse could potentially take place.

  • e phrase “Has anyone that you would

trust” is clumsy. It ought to read “Has any- one you trusted”.

Question 11: Participants thought that direct physical abuse was a very important subject to ask about. However, a number of important issues were raised in relation to the question as written:

  • Should the question be asked irrespec- tive of whether there is any evidence for doing so or at least a suspicion of physi- cal abuse?

  • Should the question be specific or gen- eral?

  • Do doctors have the skills to ask this question in ways that will encourage people to be truthful? And do elderly people perceive doctors as understand- ing and able to handle such matters?

  • Should the threat of physical abuse be included in the question, or should it be a separate part of the question?

  • e wording needs to be simplified. e

phrase “impeded your free movement” is too formal and clinical. An alternative is “restrained you or stopped you from moving freely”.


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