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Part I of II

One in seven senior citizens nationwide falls victim to some type of elder abuse, usually at the hands of a family member. The abuse can be financial, physical, or psychological and the consequences can be deadly. Statistics suggest that abused and exploited seniors die sooner than other seniors their age. Despite such devastating consequences, most elder abuse goes unreported because of fear or lack of knowledge. If you have been abused, you may be afraid of what might happen if you tell someone. If you suspect that an elderly neighbor or friend is being abused, you may not know where to turn for assistance.

(REPORT ELDER ABUSE: PA Dept of Aging 24 Hotline 1-800-490-8505)

Elder abuse is the use of power or control to affect the well-being and status of an older individual. The World Health Organization considers elder abuse as a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person. The core feature of this definition focuses on harm which includes mistreatment by people the older person knows or with whom they have a relationship, such as spouse, partner, or family member, a friend or neighbor, or people that the older person relies on for services.

There are several types of elder abuse that are universally recognized:

Each different type of elder abuse has specific signs. Below are some indicators that you need to be aware of and may recognize when involved personally or professionally with an elderly person:

Read “Health & Exercise Forum” next week to discuss the risk factors and interventions for elder abuse.

Read “Health and Exercise Forum” by Dr. Paul J. Mackarey every Monday in The Scranton Times-Tribune.

Read all of Dr. Mackarey's articles at:

Dr. Mackarey is a doctor of orthopedic and sports physical therapy with offices in downtown Scranton. He is an associate professor of clinical medicine at GCSOM.