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A Global Response to Elder Abuse - page 96 / 149

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A GLOBAL RESPONSE TO ELDER ABUSE AND NEGLECT

1 – DEFINITION OF THE PROBLEM

Elder abuse is defined as any type of action, series of actions, or lack of actions, which produce physical or psychological harm, and which is set within a relationship of trust or dependence. Elder abuse may be part of a cycle of family violence; it may be caused by caregivers, or may be the result of a lack of training of social and health institutions, who cannot meet the needs of older persons.

ECONOMIC ABUSE: to exploit the goods of a person, fraud, blackmail, as well as theft of money or the property of an indi- vidual.

NEGLECT OR ABANDONMENT: negli- gence or the omission of assisting or aiding an individual who depends on this help, or towards whom there exists a legal or moral obligation. Neglect or abandonment may be intentioned or unintentional.

Elder abuse and neglect may take diverse forms:

PHYSICAL ABUSE: to cause harm or injury, to coerce physically, as for example to impede the free movement of an indi- vidual without justification. Also included in this category is the sexual abuse of an individual.

Intentioned neglect is when a caregiver, due to bad will or irresponsibility, ceases to provide an older person with the help this person may need. Unintentional neglect is when the caregiver does not provide assis- tance, either due to ignorance or incapacity.

PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE: to cause psychological harm, as for example causing stress, anxiety, and attacking the dignity of an individual with insults.

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