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Why people abuse the elderly is a tough and complicated question to answer. Many researchers have been conducted to discover the main characteristics of elderly abuse present in different societies and cultures. In some cultures women elderly widows are considered outcasts and are required to stay in separate lodgings and wear colorless clothes. (Prevention of elder abuse)

A study of African-American elderly abuse revealed that the most common characteristic was verbal abuse. A complicated conclusion was reached where the more aged elderly people regarded verbal abuse as a harsh form of mistreatment compared to the less aged elderly people. (Tauriac & Scruggs) “Examples of neglect and abandonment were listed most frequently as forms of extreme abuse, and were listed significantly more frequently by females than by males.” (Tauriac & Scruggs) When elderly abuse was examined in Japan it was observed that, “Japanese women and men both emphasized physical aggression, followed by neglect and blaming, when giving examples of extremely abusive behavior. Physical aggression was also the most frequently mentioned type of moderate elder abuse, followed by neglect, economic maltreatment, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, blame, and psychological abuse.” (Arai) The women viewed verbal abuse as mild and physical abuse as extreme.  Japanese women provided significantly more psychological neglect responses than verbal aggression responses when giving examples of mild abuse. (Arai) A study conducted in Brazil revealed that “in the sample of responses that were provided, the most commonly cited form of abuse overall was psychological neglect, followed by neglect/abandonment. Although forms of physical aggression were mentioned less often than forms of neglect, the older the participants were, the more frequently they identified physical aggression as abusive.” (Bezerra-Flanders & Clark) The study conducted in Germany revealed that men and women differed and what they viewed as mild or extreme forms of abuse. The only difference in the Germany study was that the main characteristics of elderly abuse included economic abuse. (Konig & Leembruggen-Kallberg)

From the studies conducted in different countries the most conclusive fact is that men and women differ on their opinions of mild and extreme forms of abuse. Different countries and social groups revealed different characteristics to be on top of the elderly abuse list. Power is a human trait that leads to domestic violence and goes beyond any divisive factors. Elderly abuse on the other hand differs on minute levels in different countries and racial groups. The basic psychology of a human being is the same but cultural factors have a lot of influence in the way people perceive things. Therefore, elderly abuse characteristics are different in each country and the people respond to it differently. Elderly abuse cannot be categorized under one category like normal domestic abuse because it often goes unhidden and is governed by the rules of culture. The studies help in identifying the different forms of elderly abuse people face and provide insight on how to eradicate the problem.

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