United States of America
DOI link for United States of America
United States of America book
The United States is grappling with how to address the needs of the growing population of older adults. By 2030, 20 percent of the US population will be age 65 and older. As the cohort of baby boomers ages, the percentage of older adults who are aged 85 and older will continue to grow as well, with the population of the oldest elders (90+) growing at the fastest rate (He and Muenchrath, 2011). The population is also changing with respect to racial and ethnic composition. Non-white older adults now account for about 20 percent of the older population; in 2050, this number is projected to be about 42 percent (Vincent and Velkoﬀ 2010). These shifts in population will have an impact on public and private
resources. While many older adults are living longer in greater health, agingrelated health changes, increased frailty, and dementia will aﬀect many of the oldest elders, who will need care. The US must determine how to provide care for dependent older adults when families are stressed by multiple caregiving demands, the short-and long-term impact of the economic downturn, and shrinking public resources. Protecting the independence and self-determination of older adults who may live in the community and be mistreated by dependent family members and fall victims to targeted crimes by strangers is also of concern to practitioners, policymakers and law enforcement. The increase in the number of older adults will mean an increase in the number who are at risk of being abused, neglected and ﬁnancially exploited. While the eﬀorts by the US to address elder mistreatment have increased over the past two decades, the realities of a growing older population and shrinking resources suggest that older adults will continue to be at risk of being mistreated. This chapter explains the context in which policy is created in the US and
provides an overview of policy and practice related to elder abuse in the US. Once a largely hidden problem, elder abuse has garnered more public attention lately particularly due to media coverage such as the highly publicized case of actor Mickey Rooney. The March 2011 Senate testimony by the 92-year-old actor Mickey Rooney about his exploitation by relatives
(Pham 2011) is a recent example of the increased awareness of a problem for which the policy response is still inadequate.