Committee Opinion No. 568: Elder Abuse and Women's Health

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Abstract

Elder abuse, a violation of human rights, is defined as a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate actions, which causes harm, risk of harm, or distress to an individual 60 years or older. As many as 1 in 10 older adults have been victims of elder abuse. Most cases of abuse occur in women. The U.S. Census predicts that by 2030, the segment of the population that is older than 65 years will reach an estimated 72 million. Categories of elder abuse include physical, psychological, emotional, or sexual abuse; neglect; abandonment; and financial exploitation. Screening, education, and policy change are the best interventions for the prevention of elder abuse. Early identification and prompt referral should be part of the preventive health care visit for women aged 60 years and older.

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