Abuse in the elderly is a more recent phenomenon than other types of abuse, as directed against women or children, both documented for a long time, even if they are not recognized as social or health problem until a few decades ago. This has to do, no doubt, with social changes and particularly with the change of status of the elderly.
Elderly enjoyed social recognition, respect and power, and was the guarantee of transmission of knowledge and traditions in a society where age-related experience was considered a value. Changes in the social structure, in the family context, attitudes and values in our society, are probably in the background of the problem. Youth, productivity, health, individual achievement and power are raising stars; the old, unproductive and often dependent, it is undervalued and is sometimes a burden, a nuisance to nuclear families struggling to care for the elderly
Demographic and social changes have not been accompanied by the necessary adaptation resources to respond to new needs that have been created without longing for the past, but looking to the future. At the origin of abuse we can find many causes, because not only social factors are involved, but also cultural, individual and family factors too..