Violence in Relations of Care: Older Adults with Cognitive Impairment

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 10:54
Oral Presentation
Laura FUNK, University of Manitoba, Canada
Rahcel HERRON, Brandon University, Canada
Dale SPENCER, Carleton University, Canada
Elder abuse dominates much of the existing literature on the topic of violence and older adults. However, there has been growing attention in recent years to aggressive behavior in older adult care recipients with cognitive impairment, particularly in institutional settings. In this paper, we draw on findings from a multi-faceted, qualitative inquiry to examine how aggressive actions from older adults with cognitive impairment are framed: by paid care workers, facility representatives, family carers, tenant neighbours, and in the media. Data include in-person interviews, diaries, and print and online news sources. The interpretation of aggression from older adults with cognitive impairment was particularly complex, since the perpetrators were often (but not always) simultaneously viewed as victims. Different settings (e.g., home vs institution), and different types of care relationships (formal, family or friend) operated to shape interpretations of, and responses to, violence from older adults with cognitive impairment. These interpretations also manifested broader social and cultural forms of knowledge (e.g., common-sense, ageist, biomedical) in particular ways. Findings will be positioned in relation to sociological and criminological theory on victimization.