chapter  6
Violence at the End of the Life Course: Elder Abuse and Neglect
Pages 42

The 1960s were the decade in which concern spread about child abuse, the 1970s were dedicated to spouse abuse, and the 1980s witnessed increased attention to elder abuse (Bennett, 1990). Research on nursing home abuses by Stannard (1973) and the problem of “granny battering” discussed by Baker (1975) were early attempts to show that victimization does not stop at a certain age. Other synonyms for elder abuse appeared and quickly disappeared, including “battered parents,” “granny bashing,” “gramslamming,” and “King Lear syndrome” (Chen et al., 1987). In 1979, hearings titled “The Hidden Problem,” which focused on family abuse of elderly persons, were held before the House Select Committee on Aging. In the early 1980s, attention given to elder abuse soared among researchers, policymakers, and the media. Pedrick-Cornell and Gelles (1982) note that increases in attention were attributed to a growing awareness that elder abuse was not like child abuse and was not simply wife battering, along with the recognition that the increase of elderly persons in our society translated to more elderly victims.