Elder abuse is a serious concern, affecting many Americans each year. One way to prevent elder abuse is to educate more people about the issues surrounding this form of abuse.
Ideally, the more people who are aware of the signs of elder abuse, the quicker these cases will be prevented. Learning about the statistics surrounding elder abuse can help people understand the bigger picture.
What is Elder Abuse?
For a deeper understanding of these issues, it is important to first learn exactly what elder abuse is. Elder abuse can include emotional abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and neglect.
Anyone can be a perpetrator of elder abuse, including caregivers and family members. Caregivers, including staff at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, are some of the most common perpetrators. Five of the most common forms of elder abuse are explained in greater detail below.
Emotional abuse of elderly individuals includes verbal assault, harassment, intimidation, and threats of other forms of abuse.
Financial abuse of elderly individuals includes the misuse of that person’s financial resources or withholding financial resources. It can also include fraud, coercion, and influencing an elderly person to make unexpected changes to their will.
Elder sexual abuse includes any form of sexual activity involving an older adult when that person is unable to consent or understand what is occurring. Another form of elder sexual abuse involves sexual activity in which the elderly individual is forced to participate or is otherwise unwilling to consent to the sexual act.
Elder physical abuse involves the inflection of physical pain or injury upon an elderly adult.
An elderly person is a victim of neglect when a caregiver fails to provide them with things necessary for survival. This can include failure to provide clothing, food, shelter, or medical care.
Statistics About the Victims of Elder Abuse
Nearly one out of every ten Americans who are age 60 or older have experienced elder abuse. According to some studies, approximately five million elderly individuals are abused every year. A 2013 study found that victims of elder abuse are actually three times more likely to be admitted to a hospital over time than other elderly persons.
Statistics About Perpetrators of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse perpetrators are both men and women. In approximately 60% of elder abuse and neglect cases, the perpetrator of the abuse is a family member. Additionally, about two-thirds of perpetrators of elder abuse are spouses or adult children of the victims.
A 2014 study was conducted on the topic of financial exploitation of older adults. According to this study, family members are the most common perpetrator of financial abuse. Family members were the perpetrators in just under 58% of the 4,156 cases studied.
The same study found that neighbors and friends were perpetrators of financial abuse in about 17% of the cases. Additionally, home care aides were the perpetrators in about 15% of these cases.
A study was done in 2011 that conducted an analysis of news articles about elder abuse and neglect. According to this study, approximately 60% of the perpetrators were men. The study also found that of these male perpetrators, the majority were between the ages of 30 and 59.
Statistics About Different Forms of Elder Abuse
In a 2008 study published in the Journals of Gerontology Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, verbal abuse was the most commonly reported form of abuse. The study respondents’ next most commonly reported type of abuse was financial mistreatment. Finally, physical mistreatment was reported at a rate of less than 1%.
Statistics About Risk Factors Associated with Elder Abuse
There are certain factors that have been shown to increase a person’s susceptibility to becoming an elder abuse victim. Dementia is one risk factor. According to a 2009 study, nearly 50% of individuals with dementia become victims of some form of abuse.
Having low social support is another risk factor associated with elder abuse. In fact, low social support tends to significantly increase the risk of all forms of mistreatment.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine discovered that a large number of household members results in an increased risk of abuse. This risk factor is especially significant when it comes to financial abuse.
Additionally, poverty and low income have been found to be associated with elder abuse. This finding comes from a 2015 study published in the Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect. The study also concluded that low economic resources are conceptualized as a situational or contextual stressor that contributes to elder abuse.
Statistics About Reporting Elder Abuse
Numerous studies over the years have revealed that elder abuse is severely underreported. The National Council on Aging estimates that only one out of every fourteen cases of elder abuse are reported to the authorities. It has also been found that adults in their late 50s and 60s tend to be more likely to report financial or verbal mistreatment, as compared to older adults.
According to the New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study, there are at least 24 cases of elder abuse for each known reported case. However, while these instances still tend to go substantially unreported, Adult Protective Services agencies have noticed that reports of elder abuse have increased. This is a good indicator that, hopefully, cases are more frequently reported.
Elder Abuse and Neglect Attorneys
If you or a loved one is a victim of any form of elder abuse, the attorneys at The Peck Law Group can help. When elder abuse or neglect occurs as a result of negligence on the part of a nursing home or assisted living facility, the victim may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. This compensation may include money for medical bills and costs, as well as money for pain and suffering.
Our team of attorneys aggressively fights for the rights of our injured clients. To schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help, contact us at The Peck Law Group today.
About the Author
Attorney Steven Peck has been practicing law since 1981. A former successful business owner, Mr. Peck initially focused his legal career on business law. Within the first three years, after some colleagues and friend’s parents endured nursing home neglect and elder abuse, he continued his education to begin practicing elder law and nursing home abuse law.
Bar Memberships and Affiliations
The Peck Law Group stays up to date and in touch with the legal community through various memberships and affiliations.