What is Elder Abuse?
- A large problem—2-10% of the older American population may be victims
- A growing problem – with the aging of the Baby Boomer population
- A hidden problem—Only 1 in 5 victims are identified
- A family problem—Perpetrators are often family members and people known to the elder
- A serious problem—Abused elders are four times more likely to die prematurely
Types of Elder Abuse?
- Physical—This occurs when an elder is injured as a result of hitting, kicking, pushing, slapping, burning, or other show of force.
- Emotional– This refers to behaviors that harm an elder’s self-worth or emotional well being. Examples include name calling, scaring, embarrassing, destroying property, or isolation.
- Financial— Illegally using an elder’s money, property or assets. It is estimated that due to financial abuse, seniors are robbed of $2.6 Billion/year.
- Sexual—Forcing sexual contact or sexual behaviors (pornography,etc) against the elder’s will.
- Neglect—Ignoring an elder’s physical, medical or basic needs. This includes abandonment.
- Unexplained or frequent injuries
- Speaks of being afraid or “walking on eggshells”
- Makes comments like “my son has a temper,” or “my husband makes me do things I don’t want to do”
- Is isolated
- Is living in unsafe, unsanitary, or hazardous conditions
- Has sudden unexplained changes in lifestyle or behavior
- Makes unusual financial transactions
How Can I Help?
- Recognize the Signs (see warning signs above)
- Respect their Dignity
- Believe them
- Tell them it is not their fault
- Tell them that abuse at any age is not okay
- Respond by contacting local or National resources
Other Ways to Help
- Show Up– Maintain frequent, random contact with elders. Preventing isolation is the key to prevention.
- Spread the Word— Share/post campaign materials at your workplace, place of worship, or other community location you frequent.
Check out this Elder Abuse Factsheet for more information