Facts About Elder Abuse in the United States
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Elder abuse refers to intentional or neglectful acs by a caregiver or trusted indvidual that lead to, or may lead to, harm of a vulnerable elder.
What are the types of elder abuse?
Elder abuse includes physical, emotional, pyschological or sexual abuse as well as financial or material exploitation, neglect, and abandonment.
How Many Older Americans are Abused?
- A minimum of 1 in 9 of Americans over age 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse. Some estimates range as high as 5 million elders who are abused each year.
- For every one case of elder abuse reported to authorities, at least five more go unreported.
Who Commits Elder Abuse?
- In almost 90% of elder abuse and neglect incidents, the perpetrator is a family member.
- Two thirds of perpetrators are adult children or spouses.
Who are the Victims?
- Women and the very old are most likely to be abused.
- Some 14,000 allegations of abuse, neglect or gross negligence are reported in nursing homes.
- Close to 50% of those with dementia experience some form of abuse.
- By 2030, the numbers of older Americans over age 85 – those most at risk for abuse – will more than double. Reported cases of elder abuse are already on the rise.
What are the Effects of Elder Abuse?
- Elders who have been abused have a 300% higher risk of death when compared to those who have not been mistreated.
- While likely underreported, elder financial abuse costs older Americans more than $2.6 billion per year.
- Financial abuse accounts for nearly 21% of the allegations of mistreatment investigated by Adult Protective Services. It is the third most common substantiated form, following neglect and emotional/psychological abuse.
What is the Federal Government’s Current Role in Combating It?
- Less than 2% of federal abuse prevention dollars go to elder mistreatment efforts. 91% is spent on child abuse and 7% on domestic abuse.
- There are currently federal laws governing domestic violence and child abuse, but none related to elder abuse.