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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 140652 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Police Services and the Elderly
Journal: Law and Order  Volume:40  Issue:6  Dated:(June 1992)  Pages:68-71
Author(s): D W Godwin
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 4
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
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Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The increasing percentage of the population that is age 65 and older will affect police policies and procedures and require police to understand some major characteristics of the elderly.
Abstract: In addition to age, physical function, employment status, life activities, and self-perception all determine whether a person is elderly. To communicate effectively with elderly persons, police officers should be aware that the average income of the elderly is about half that of younger persons. Minority elderly are particularly likely to live in poverty and to suffer chronic illnesses. Elderly persons must also adjust to challenges and stresses such as losses of work, income, status, choice, a spouse, home, health, and social contacts. Elderly report crime based on the amount of money involved, clues as to who committed the crime, and their view regarding whether an arrest will be made. Some people never call the police; police should remove the barriers that prevent them from calling. Others call with unrealistic problems and need education regarding the limitations of the police. Still others constantly call the police with seemingly insignificant problems and should be referred to medical or social agencies that can deal with their problems. Vision and hearing impairment may require the police officer to adjust lighting or move closer. Confusion on the part of the elderly person requires efforts to ensure that the person is receiving information. Although the elderly are not victimized more than other groups, their victimization is important to them and is often the topic of discussion. Purse snatching, frauds, and vandalism are major types of crimes against the elderly. Suicide and abuse are also concerns. Police officers must choose words carefully and avoid jargon or talking "down." They must also understand their feelings, attitudes, and beliefs, because communication is much more than speaking words. They must be good listeners and deal with the elderly compassionately and on an even level. Photograph
Main Term(s): Crimes against the elderly; Police-citizen interactions
Index Term(s): Communication techniques; Elder Abuse; Older Adults (65+); Police attitudes
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