Excerpts below are from the NASW Specialty Practice Sections (SPS) live webinar on elder abuse. SPS members can download the on demand audio recording or read the transcript by visiting the NASW Section page for details. CE credit is also available.
Q: …Minimum age for elder abuse?
A: In Ohio for example it is age 60, but other states have it at 65 or even as far down as 55. So it varies by state.
Q: Is there a correlation between experiencing elder abuse and having been abused earlier in life?
A: There’s been a limited amount of research in that regard and actually I participated in one of those studies myself and I’ll kind of describe that study to you because it looked at both child abuse and elder abuse in that regard. It was funded by the National Institute on Aging and its purpose was to look at the etiology or the causes of elder abuse.
And we looked at five different suggested causes, one of which was the kind of cycle of violence theory, where, for example, if you had been abused as a child you grew up to be abusive of your elderly parents in their old age. And we had three different comparison groups casino that we utilized. One was a group of adult children who had physically abused their elderly parents and it had been substantiated. The second was a group of adult children who had taken care of their elderly parents but had no history of abusing them.
And the third group was a group of parents of young children, and by young children I mean they were between the ages of 3 and 5. What we found was that the cycle of violence theory was salient for child abuse. In other words, it was significant that those parents who had been abused as children were abusive of their children later on. It was not a significant factor for elder abuse, however.