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Social Problems of Vulnerable Populations

Social Problems of Vulnerable Populations

Vulnerable populations include children, older adults, women, and individuals with disabilities. Some social challenges they face include abuse, social isolation, dependency, and family issues. As people age, they need assistance from the people around them. This dependency often results in physical, sexual, financial, mental, verbal, neglect, or emotional abuse. The family problems, which include a lack of affection, care, respect, and assistance, aggravate the abuse (Rehman & Mohyuddin, 2015). Informal caregivers and family members are responsible for abusing elderly individuals.

Contributing factors in the micro and macro systems

At the micro-level, various factors perpetuate abuse against older people. These factors include substance abuse, personality traits, provocative behavior, mental or emotional illnesses, and reluctance to offer care. These aspects may exist in the caregiver or the victim. Older adults who abuse drugs tend to expose themselves to abuse, as they are unable to take care of themselves, leading to higher dependency. Excessively demanding behavior, ungratefulness, and unpleasant conduct might provoke abuse from caregivers. Cases of ill health, mentally or physically, place greater demands and pressure on caregivers. These also make it difficult to defend oneself in case of abuse. Cases of abuse also occur due to caregivers’ impatient and hypercritical behaviors (Schiamberg & Gans, 2000). In addition, depression, unrealistic expectations, and lack of self-control also contribute to abuse.

In the macro system, cultural norms influence the attitude of caregivers toward older adults. The perception that older adults are ‘less worthy’ tends to create a conducive environment for abuse. Cultures that promote or tolerate abuse against dependent individuals are likely to allow such abuse to take place when older people are involved. Gender is a contributing factor, as women tend to experience significant abuse within their settings. Public policy also promotes or deters abuse against older adults. The lack of laws and policies that criminalize elderly abuse by caregivers interferes with the reporting system. In addition, the lack of education and awareness programs that would inform caregivers and the elderly about abuse promotes the vice (Schiamberg & Gans, 2000).

Potential Solution                                    

The ideal solution to preventing elderly abuse is the creation of awareness among potential victims, caregivers, and family members. This solution is proposed based on the wide network within which abuse occurs. For instance, family members hire caregivers and tend to ignore signs that could signal abuse. In a different instance, the potential victims may remain unaware of subtle types of abuse, such as financial. Candid discussions that include both older adults and caregivers are critical. To make this successful, all parties should express specific opinions and directions while avoiding indifference when the caregivers or family members suspect abuse. Training other individuals on recognizing abuse and creating proper reporting frameworks are important aspects of successfully implementing the solution (Kourkouta, 2016). Other past solutions include setting up helplines, assisting with managing finances, and establishing shelters (Pillemer, Burnes, Riffin, & Lachs, 2016). However, implementing these solutions may not create a lasting solution in the absence of education.


Kourkouta, L. (2016). Prevention Of Elder Abuse. International Journal of Engineering Research, 2(2), 276-281.

Pillemer, K., Burnes, D., Riffin, C., & Lachs, M. S. (2016). Elder Abuse: Global Situation, Risk Factors, and Prevention Strategies. The Gerontologist, 56(2), S194-S205.

Rehman, I., & Mohyuddin, A. (2015). Social Issues Of Senior Citizens. Journal of Social Sciences, 1(8), 301-306.

Schiamberg, L. B., & Gans, D. (2000). Elder abuse by adult children: An applied, ecological framework for understanding contextual risk factors and the intergenerational character of quality of life. International journal of aging and human development, 50(4), 329-359.


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Social Problems of Vulnerable Populations

Social Problems of Vulnerable Populations

Social Problems of Vulnerable Populations


Vulnerable Populations Worksheet

On a separate Word document, citing one to three scholarly sources from the GCU library, answer the following prompts:


Describe some social problems of vulnerable populations (75-100 words).

Please include

* Child abuse or Elderly abuse

Explain how social problems of vulnerable populations have perpetuated or are affected by the social problem you selected on a micro and macro level (200-250 words).
Use the GCU library and identify an actual solution to a social problem of vulnerable populations. Summarize the solution you identified and compare it to historical solutions proposed in the past (150-200 words).


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