It Should Never Happen To Anyone. Elder Abuse Isn't A Myth - It's A Terrifying Reality

Date October 18, 2018

Elder abuse comes in lots of forms: from the simple self-neglect to the financial or even physical abuse. Since older adults make up a significant percentage of the whole population, it is extremely important to raise awareness about one of the biggest issues that almost any elderly can relate to – elder abuse. First off, we need to understand what it is, what kind of forms it can have, and how often it happens.

It Should Never Happen To Anyone. Elder Abuse Isn't A Myth - It's A Terrifying RealityDmytro Zinkevych /

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What is elder abuse?

Different experts suggest various definitions. Summing up all of them, we can say that elder abuse is an act (can be single or repeated), or lack of appropriate action that causes distress, harm to an older adult. Elder abuse can be intentional or unintentional and has lots of different forms.

Types of elder abuse

1. Neglect

This type of abuse usually happens due to caregivers fail to take proper care of older adults. It can be anything from failing to provide enough food or water to comfort and safety. Self-neglect is another common type, where an older person is unable to take care of themselves due to physiological, psychological, or financial reasons.

2. Physical abuse

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, physical abuse is any form of physical form that causes bodily injuries, pain, and especially impairment. You can recognize it by the following signs: broken bones, cuts, bruises, wounds. The most common sign of physical abuse, however, is a sudden change in behavior due to domestic violence.

3. Psychological (emotional) abuse

Violence can manifest itself in verbal form, which can inflict pain, severe distress, mental health damage, etc. Emotional abuse includes intimidating, harassing, humiliating, and even threatening a senior.

It Should Never Happen To Anyone. Elder Abuse Isn't A Myth - It's A Terrifying RealityWorld Elder Abuse Awareness Day vector imageBeataGFX /

4. Sexual abuse

Sometimes seniors may become victims of sexual abuse, which is basically any type of non-consensual sexual action: from touching to rape, filming, and taking nude photos.

5. Financial exploitation

Elders often become victims of their family members’ financial manipulations. Older children can frequently improperly use their older parents’ funds and even property. They can forge the signature; steal cash and assets; force the senior to sign checks and other documents, etc.

6. Abandonment

Arguably, the most dishonorable type of elder abuse is abandonment. Often times, it happens when a caregiver is no longer able or willing to provide proper care, thus decides to desert the elder.

It Should Never Happen To Anyone. Elder Abuse Isn't A Myth - It's A Terrifying RealityPortrait of sad elderly manNadino /

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Elder abuse statistics

Nowadays, the problem of elder abuse is still there and needs to be solved. According to different studies, more than 1 million senior U.S. citizens of age 65 and over have been mistreated, injured, exploited, or in other words abused by a caregiver. And if you are wondering how many incidents of elder abuse are reported each year, it is only every fifth case!

  • Overall, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse, the statistics show that the most commonly reported types of elder abuse are verbal (psychological), financial or material, and physical.
  • Most abusers are family members (mostly the spouse or the child) and makeup around 75% of all elder abuse cases.
  • Victims of elder abuse often experience multiple types of abuse. For instance, those who are financially exploited also report about being psychologically abused.
  • Two-thirds of victims are female, whereas only one-third are male.
  • There is no link between an abuser and their gender. Half of the abusers are female, and the other half are male.
  • Most reports on elder abuse are made by social workers (35%), and family members (16%).
  • Unfortunately, the elder abuse statistics is not comforting at all. Around 40% of nursing staff admitted that they had abused their patients. Absolutely shocking, isn’t it?

It Should Never Happen To Anyone. Elder Abuse Isn't A Myth - It's A Terrifying RealityNursing Staff Mistreating Elderly ManSpeedKingz /

The number of people aged 60 and older on our planet will more than double by the year 2050: from 900 million to 2 billion, which means we have to take actions to provide proper conditions for our honorable senior citizens. Most victims of elder abuse depend on their caregivers for basic needs. And those who have been abused are at much higher risk (around 300%) of death in the next 3 to 5 years than those who have been treated properly. Older adults deserve their needs to be fulfilled as any other person.

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