1. Elder abuse most often takes place in the home where the senior lives. It can also happen in institutional settings, especially long-term care facilities.
2. Approximately 1.6 to 2 million seniors become victims of abuse or neglect in domestic and institutional settings in the U.S. every year.
3. The four most common forms of elder abuse are physical abuse (including sexual abuse), psychological and emotional abuse, financial/material abuse, and neglect.
4. Most elder abuse victims are dependent on their abuser for basic needs.
5. At least 1 in 9 Americans over the age of 60 has experienced some form of elder abuse.
6. Seniors who have been abused have a 300 percent higher risk of death when compared to those who weren’t.
7. In almost 90 percent of elder abuse and neglect incidents, the perpetrator is a family member. Two-thirds of perpetrators are adult children or spouses.
8. For every reported incident of elder abuse, five others go unreported.
9. Almost 50 percent of seniors with dementia (a decline in mental ability. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia) experience some form of abuse.
10. While 91 percent of federal abuse prevention dollars are spent on child abuse, 7 percent is spent on domestic abuse, and only 2 percent goes towards protecting the elderly.
11. Legislatures in all 50 states have passed some type of elder abuse law.
Although there are common themes of elder abuse across nations, there are also unique manifestations based upon history, culture, economic strength, and societal perceptions of older people within nations themselves. The fundamental common denominator is the use of power and control by one individual to affect the well-being and status of another, older, individual. There are several types of abuse of older people that are generally recognized as being elder abuse, including: Physical: e.g. hitting, punching, slapping, burning, pushing, kicking, restraining, false imprisonment/confinement, or giving excessive or improper medication Psychological/Emotional: e.g. humiliating a person. A common theme is a perpetrator who identifies something that matters to an older person and then uses it to coerce an older person into a particular action. It may take verbal forms such as name-calling, ridiculing, constantly criticizing, accusations, blaming, or non verbal forms such as ignoring, silence or shunning. Financial abuse: also known as financial exploitation. e.g. illegal or unauthorized use of a person’s property, money, pension book or other valuables (including changing the person’s will to name the abuser as heir). It may be obtained by deception, coercion, misrepresentation, undue influence, or theft.
This includes fraudulently obtaining or use of a power of attorney. Other forms include deprivation of money or other property, or by eviction from own home Scam by strangers: e.g. worthless “sweepstakes” that elderly persons must pay in order to collect winnings, fraudulent investment schemes, predatory lending, and lottery scams. Sexual: e.g. forcing a person to take part in any sexual activity without his or her consent, including forcing them to participate in conversations of a sexual nature against their will; may also include situations where person is no longer able to give consent (dementia) Neglect: e.g. depriving a person of food, heat, clothing or comfort or essential medication and depriving a person of needed services to force certain kinds of actions, financial and otherwise. The deprivation may be intentional (active neglect) or happen out of lack of knowledge or resources (passive neglect).
Hybrid financial exploitation (HFE): e.g. financial exploitation that co-occurs with physical abuse and/or neglect. HFE victims are more likely to be co-habiting with abusive individual, to have fair/poor health, to fear the abusive individual, to perceive abusive individual as caretaker, and to have a longer duration abuse. In addition, some U.S. state laws also recognize the following as elder abuse: Abandonment: deserting a dependent person with the intent to abandon them or leave them unattended at a place for such a time period as may be likely to endanger their health or welfare. Rights abuse: denying the civil and constitutional rights of a person who is old, but not declared by court to be mentally incapacitated.
This is an aspect of elder abuse that is increasingly being recognized and adopted by nations Self-neglect: elderly persons neglecting themselves by not caring about their own health or safety. Self-neglect (harm by self) is treated as conceptually different as abuse (harm by others). Institutional abuse refers to physical or psychological harms, as well as rights violations in settings where care and assistance is provided to dependant older adults or others. What causes physical abuse of an elder?
The exact cause of physical abuse is not known. Poor or crowded living conditions may be one of the reasons it occurs. The following may increase your risk of physical abuse: You have learning or memory problems.
You have a long-term condition, such as dementia, diabetes, paralysis, or stroke.
You have no relatives or friends who can take care of you.
You have difficulty getting along with others.
The carer depends heavily on you for things such as money or housing.
The carer drinks alcohol or uses illegal drugs.
The carer has a personality disorder, depression, or another mental illness.
The carer has a history of family violence, such as physical or sexual abuse. The carer has stress due to work, taking care of you, or financial problems.
What are the signs and symptoms of physical abuse of an elder? Repeated falls or injuries, or old injuries that were not treated when they happened
Scratches, bite marks, or marks from objects used for restraining, such as belts, ropes, or electrical cords
Broken or dislocated bones
Cuts or bruises, especially on both upper arms (grab marks)
Scars or burns from cigarettes, irons, or hot water
Blood or discharge coming from your nose, mouth, or genitals