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January 19, 2011

Elder Abuse - A Growing But Hidden Asian Communities (USA)



JANUARY 18, 2011

Elder Abuse occurs when someone 60 or older is mistreated. Elder abuse includes emotional, mental and physical abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, and abandonment. Abusers of older people are both women and men and may be family members, friends, or ‘trusted people.’ Family elder abuse affects as many as 2 million seniors in the United States, as well as up to 5 million seniors who are subjected to financial exploitation, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), a program of the U.S. Administration on Aging.
To investigate the elder abuse situation of Asian communities in New York City, GAA Research Associate Nuri Han met with Peter Cheng, Executive Director of Indochina Sino-American Community Center (ISACC). Located in Manhattan’s Chinatown, ISACC has assisted Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, Burmese, Philipino, and Malaysian immigrants and refugees integrate into mainstream society by providing programs, services and activities since 1990.
Only one elder abuse protection program
Two years ago, Cheng recognized elder abuse when one elder client asked the organization’s staff to help him fill out an application for government housing. Cheng knew that the elderly man had purchased a co-op apartment. Cheng, curious why he needed government housing, asked. The elderly man said that he worked hard and purchased the co-op apartment in his son’s name. However, his son did not want to live with him so he was evicted.
Cheng surveyed other clients and found that this man’s situation was not unique. In response, Cheng launched the Chinese Americans Restoring Elders (CARE) Project, the first and only elder abuse prevention program in New York City’s Chinese community. The CARE Project raises awareness of elder abuse and assists older people in need by providing linguistically and culturally appropriate education materials. Unfortunately, due to the lack of funding, only one case worker can be solely devoted to this project.
Growing but hidden
Reflecting the rapid growth of Chinese elders in New York City, the population of Chinese seniors 60 or older is 93,000 persons and will more than double in 10 years. This will be the fastest growth rate among all ethnic groups in New York, according to the City Council. However, nobody knows how many elder abuse cases there are in New York’s Asian community. 



Abridged
SOURCE:   Global Aging






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