NCPEA - National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse
Elder Care

Critical Issues in Elder Abuse Section

Elder abuse is a relatively new field that raises many complex ethical, legal, and clinical questions. It has challenged our understanding of such fundamental concepts as personal freedom, the role of culture in defining family responsibility, and society's obligations to its members. This section of our website describes some of these challenging issues and will continue to present new ones as these emerge.

The role of culture in elder abuse and neglect. Culture influences how abuse is manifested, perceived, and responded to. It dictates victims' willingness to accept help and determines who they will turn to in times of need. Learn more about the critical role culture plays.

Mental capacity, consent, and undue influence. Effectively assessing and responding to elder abuse frequently requires an understanding of what vulnerable persons understand, their capacity to exercise informed consent, and their ability to withstand undue influence. Learn more about these issues and how they come into play in elder abuse cases.

The relationship between elder abuse and substance abuse. Substance abuse is the most frequently cited risk factor associated with elder abuse, affecting both victims and perpetrators. Learn more about the complex relationship between substance abuse and elder abuse.

Autonomy, self-determination, and least restrictive alternatives. Those who work with victims of abuse are committed to preserving clients' freedom and civil liberties even when doing so may jeopardize clients health and safety. Learn more about these fundamental principles.

Restitution. Requiring perpetrators to compensate victims for their losses can help victims heal financially and emotionally. It further holds perpetrators accountable to victims and their communities. As more cases of financial elder abuse are prosecuted, those who work with elderly victims need to understand this fundamental victims' right and challenges to protecting it.