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Leiden institutions examined elderly abuse at a conference

Problem widespread

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

LEIDEN - Abuse of the elderly should receive the same level of attention as child abuse. The problem has increasingly surfaced in recent years and should concern healthcare professionals and legislators.

Research by the Dutch Union for the Elderly (ANBO) last year, revealed that a startling 200,000 elderly abuse cases are reported each and every year. The report also claims that it may be just the tip of the iceberg.

ANBO research shows that abuse by caregivers or relatives can take many forms, both physical and psychological, and can also involve financial exploitation. The report found cases occurring both at home and in care homes.

Geriatrics Professor Westendorp of the Leiden University notes that government policies dealing with child abuse are well-developed, but elderly abuse remains relatively ignored.

Professor Westendorp's Leyden Academy institute and the Leiden University Medical Centre recently held a conference on the problem of the physical and mental abuse of the elderly.