|November 28, 2013||Posted by M. P. under Elderly, Health, Research|
The National Center for Elder Abuse (NCEA) recently tweeted a picture to remind that reconnecting with family during Thanksgiving weekend is not just a sentimental tradition, but a responsibility we have to our older relatives. Although senior citizens make up a growing segment of society (the U.S. Census Bureau projects that about 20 percent of residents of the United States will be 65 years and older in 2030) there is not a body of research or a high-profile public service campaign focused on elder abuse and neglect.
Despite involving a highly vulnerable population, the issue of elder abuse hardly makes for gripping headlines, nor is it the subject of tear-jerking television commercials imploring people to not turn away from the difficult images of neglected senior citizens. According to the report, Understanding Elder Abuse: New directions for developing theories of elder abuse occurring in domestic settings by Shelly L. Jackson and Thomas L. Hafemeister, the issue lacks the research funding and the backing of high profile organizations required to launch it to the forefront of public consciousness. Even the very definition of the word “elderly” is a source of debate as baby boomers don’t want to be reminded that they are getting older.
Without a powerful advocacy group or much data to plan and support a call to action, it is difficult to communicate the urgency of the problem to people bombarded near-daily with causes and foundations looking for more than just a sad story (this issue is not limited to interpersonal violence, there is a high-stakes battle for funding dollars among diseases). Also, as Jackson and Hafemeister discuss, there is not a widely accepted theory that explains the incidence of elder abuse and neglect. Several interpersonal explanations or socio-cultural approaches can be used to examine the issue, but there is not one prominent school of thought that illuminates what limited data are collected on the issue. Another factor that complicates presentation of the issue, is that there are several kinds of abuse and neglect and not all are violent (fraud, theft, self-neglect) or always intentional (neglect, isolation). The authors also point out that the victim of abuse and the relationship between abusing/neglectful caregiver and victim are not closely examined (not to in anyway blame a victim, but relationship dynamics – and the majority of elder caregivers are family members – are fraught with various factors one theory may not adequately capture).
Perhaps the reality of a projected 88.5 million adults over age 65 living in America in 2050 has prompted the need to explore the issue, as research collaborations have been formed through the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) to provide insight into this complex issue, identify evidence-based practices and guide policy formation. To learn more about protecting the elderly at home or in care facilities, resources for caregivers, and the signs of abuse or neglect visit the FAQ page at NECA or the NAPSA website.
Vincent, Grayson K. and Victoria A. Velkoff, 2010, THE NEXT FOUR DECADES, The Older Population in the United States: 2010 to 2050, Current Population Reports, P25-1138, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC.
Jackson, Shelly L. and Thomas L. Hafemeister, 2013, Understanding Elder Abuse: New directions for developing theories of elder abuse occurring in domestic settings, National Institute of Justice, Washington, DC.
|November 9, 2013||Posted by M. P. under Education, News, Policy, Research, Youth Development|
If you were born into a family at the lower end of the earning spectrum, there is a good chance you will remain there, but if you do move up you likely won’t reach the middle income bracket, according to a study by The Pew Charitable Trusts on economic mobility. The findings from the report, Moving On Up Why Do Some Americans Leave the Bottom of the Economic Ladder, but Not Others?, point to a combination of race, educational attainment and employment as having a strong influence on the likelihood of a person ascending the income ladder. Specifically, the researchers found that 86 percent of college graduates versus 55 percent of those without a college degree moved up from the lowest category of the income ladder, as did 84 percent of double income families compared to 49 percent of those with one earner. The accumulation of savings and home equity were also related to upward mobility.
With human capital linked to economic mobility, it makes sense to take a closer look at the external factors that influence the development of one’s knowledge, skill sets and other facets of employability. The 2013 Opportunity Index from Opportunity Nation indicates some overall growth (2.6 percent) in the civic, educational and economic factors that are associated with upward mobility in the United States from 2011 to 2013. An interesting finding was that the zip code tends to be the strongest predictor of achievement – in other words – where one resides and the social, environmental, and institutional factors within that area influence one’s ability to access and successfully leverage opportunity for upward mobility.
Some of the national findings from the Opportunity Index:
- 5.8 million youth ages 16 to 24 are not in school and not employed
- 49 states saw an increase in their poverty rate even as unemployment decreased between 2011 and 2013
- High school graduation rates and the rate of people with at least an associate’s degree increased during this time period
- Unemployment was down, and mean household income was up between 2011 and 2013, but the poverty rate also increased (13.8 percent from 12.5 percent)
- Preschool enrollment stayed steady at just shy of 50 percent of 3 and 4 year olds, and on-time high school graduation increased to 84.1 percent (from 82.7 percent)
- The rate of violent crime and adult volunteering decreased
Photo Credit: M. Puzzanchera (Own Work) (CC By-NC-ND 3.0)
|October 18, 2013||Posted by M. P. under Health, Management, News, Program Model|
A study commissioned by the Avon Foundation for Women on the experiences and perceptions of domestic violence and sexual abuse found a lack of discussion and action on these issues by both teenagers and adults.
Data from the study, NO MORE Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Survey of Attitudes and Experiences of Teens and Adults indicate that respondents felt these issues were important conceptually, but not much attention was given to them through words or actions, for example,
- 60 percent of women and 75 percent of men had not discussed the topic of domestic violence with friends
- 73 percent of parents with children under age 18 had not discussed the topic of sexual assault with their children
- 15 percent of respondents felt that sexual abuse or domestic violence were problems among their friends
- The majority of both male and female victims of domestic violence who had told someone about their situation reported that no one helped them
The Avon Foundation for Women plans to use this data to inform a new initiative to better train employers on the signs of domestic or sexual abuse and how to best support those who have experienced it. As the cost of domestic abuse in health care, mental health services and lost productivity amounts to billions of dollars each year, a scalable strategy to connect companies with local professionals to improve response and prevention efforts for families experiencing such crises is a step in the right direction.
|October 11, 2013||Posted by M. P. under Drug and Alcohol, News, Policy|
Trust for America’s Health’s (TFAH) latest report, Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Stop the Epidemic, illustrates the magnitude of the public health problem created by misuse of prescription drugs, and examines the methods that states are employing to address the disturbing trend. According to the authors, the number of deaths by prescription drug overdose is larger than those by cocaine and heroin combined. With sales of prescription painkillers 4 times higher in 2010 than in 1999, the increase in the abuse of these substances should not come as a surprise.
Some of the findings from the report:
- In 2010, West Virginia was the state with the highest rate of deaths by overdose, at 28.9 for every 100,000 residents (an increase of 605 percent increase from 1999). North Dakota had the lowest at 3.4 for every 100,000 residents.
- 22 states require by law specific education for doctors and other healthcare professionals who can prescribe pain medication.
- 17 states have laws giving some protection from criminal charges (or consider it a mitigating factor) to people attempting to get medical assistance for an overdose victim, including themselves.
Pennsylvania is ranked 14th in amount of deaths by drug overdose and, according to the report, has in place 4 of 10 evidence-based indicators that work to reduce prescription drug abuse and overdose deaths. Policy and practice recommendations such as educational outreach and more variety in treatment options, as well as data snapshots for all fifty states are included in the complete report available at the Trust for America’s Health’s website.