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Understanding and Combating Elder Abuse in Hispanic Communities

NCJ Number
Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect Volume: 9 Issue: 2 Dated: 1997 Pages: 5-17
Victor Montoya
Date Published
17 pages
This article describes elder abuse and domestic violence in the context of Hispanic culture by examining personal, family, community, and religious factors relevant to older generations who live in the United States.
Understanding elder abuse in Hispanic communities requires knowledge about both elder abuse and Hispanics. Hispanic ethnicity does not lead to violence any more than any other racial or ethnic group. Conditions found to be associated with Hispanic family abuse are circumstances that Hispanics often struggle with due to the socioeconomic and political environment in which they live. This environment continues to support discrimination in educational and employment opportunities and thus perpetuate economic dependence, family stress, psychopathology, and poverty associated with elder abuse. Hispanic culture acts as an asset in that it can prevent elder abuse and also as a liability in that it can hide elder abuse. Strong family ties and respect for others minimize the incidence of elder abuse, while strong family ties and male/female roles reduce the incidence of elder abuse reporting. Preventing elder abuse involves recognizing and incorporating cultural strengths of the Hispanic community and empowering the community to create a society where all individuals can live with dignity. Specific strategies to combat elder abuse are described that focus on the individual, the family, the community, and the media. 16 references