Do Something about Elder Abuse | Peace Through Action USA

What is elder abuse?

Elder abuse is an intentional act, or failure to act, by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult defined as 60 years and older. Forms of elder abuse include: physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse, neglect, and exploitation.[1]

[1] “Violence Prevention.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 June 2017, www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/elderabuse/definitions.html.

How widespread is elder abuse in the United States?

  • It is estimated that 1 in 10 people over the age of 60 are abused each year.
  • Some estimates indicate that there may be as many as 5 million elder abuse cases a year.
  • Only 1 in 24 of abuse instances are estimated to be reported.
  • Adults with mental impairments such as dementia and adults with disabilities are much more likely to be victims of abuse.[2]

[2] Elder Abuse Statistics & Facts | Elder Justice. (2017, August 08). Retrieved September 24, 2017, from https://www.ncoa.org/public-policy-action/elder-justice/elder-abuse-facts/

What culture changes and public policies are necessary for preventing elder abuse?

Creating opportunities for our seniors to contribute to society in a meaningful way is key toward creating an environment of respect. One exciting opportunity is for daycares and nursing care facilities to co-exist, giving opportunity to elders to contribute to the growth and development of children and also ensuring that children are exposed to positive interactions with their elders from an early age. Elder abuse also occurs most often when the abuser has a low socioeconomic standing. The issues surrounding the Unites States economic system are complex but it is worth noting that most crime occurs when individuals are under tough financial circumstances.[3]

[3] (n.d.). Retrieved September 24, 2017, from http://www.apa.org/pi/aging/resources/guides/elder-abuse.aspx

What practical solutions are effective for elder abuse?

Education for the community, especially seniors and healthcare professionals on what to look for in terms of elder abuse is paramount. Seniors can also take steps to protecting themselves from abuse such as: keeping their health, stay active in the community, and handling their own money and affairs with the help of a trusted professional.

What can I do to prevent or stop elder abuse?

  • Education—Educate your friends and family about elder abuse and cultural stigma around seniors.
  • Reporting abuse—If you or someone you know needs to report elder abuse you can contact the National Adult Protective Services Association here: http://www.napsa-now.org/get-help/help-in-your-area/
  • In case of emergency—If you are experiencing or witnessing an emergency, call 911 or try to get to a location where others can observe your distress and intervene.

Where can I find statistics about elder abuse?

Where else might I go to learn more about elder abuse?

Information Sheet-Do Something-Elder Abuse (PDF)

Have a suggested improvement to this information sheet? Send it to inbox@peacethroughaction.org

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