Elder Abuse Statistics Paint a Grim Picture

Neglect is a major problem with the frail and elderly. Neglect is the refusal or failure to fulfill any part of a person’s obligations or duties to an elder. This includes the refusal or failure to provide an elderly person with such life necessities as food, water, clothing, shelter, personal hygiene, medicine, comfort, personal safety, or other essentials included in an implied or agreed upon responsibility to an elder. Neglect includes failure of a person who has fiduciary responsibilities to provide care for an elder or failure on the part of an in-home service provider to provide necessary care.

Elder neglect occurs when a caregiver or responsible party refuses to provide life necessities, such as food, water, or shelter to a vulnerable elder. Neglect is one of the most common forms of abuse inflicted on dependent adults. Lack of proper hygiene, nutrition, over-medication and even a failure to provide respectful and compassionate care and interaction can lead to health and emotional problems. Any such case should be addressed at once with the help of an advocate for elder rights.

Elder abuse statistics can help to construct a complete picture about elder abuse in the United States. The large majority of elder abuse victims— almost 70%—are female. Meanwhile, over half of the offenders that were responsible for this type of abuse and neglect were likewise women. The most common type of abuse experienced by elderly individuals is neglect, closely followed by psychological abuse and financial exploitation.

Elder abuse statistics indicate that elderly abuse investigations are substantially greater in states that have established mandatory reporting legislation. The data that is currently accessible thus indicates that this troubling and horrific behavior is much more prevalent then most people believe it is.

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Elder abuse statistics show that elderly patients with physical or mental disabilities are at the greatest risk for being abused. Roughly 1/2 of women with physical disabilities report being sexually abused, and nearly 1/2 of men report being the victims of physical violence. However, these statistics cover only those incidents that were reported, and the actual numbers may reach as high as 90% for both types of violence. The impact of elder abuse is genuinely lethal with elderly patients who experience even mild abuse being at a 300% greater risk of death than their peers who have not experienced abuse.

Elderly abuse statistics, to boot, show that spouses are least commonly responsible for elder abuse. The available information and data suggests that even one incident of abuse or neglect may have an extremely detrimental effect on an elderly individual. They often experience more difficulty recovering from physical, emotional, and psychological abuse. Researchers believe that this is primarily a result of inadequate support systems.

Elderly victims are often hesitant to come forward and report abuse or neglect. A victim may be ashamed or embarrassed, preferring to suffer in silence. Much like child victims, elderly victims of abuse and neglect, are frequently in a position of dependency on the abuser, thereby fearing reprisals for reporting the abuse.

The elderly often suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s or are in such poor physical condition that they are either not cognizant or are not able to effectively communicate what is happening in their environment. A family member, friend or relative visiting them usually bears the responsibility of observing, reporting what is happening and seeking legal advice or representation. Most people do not know what would legally constitute nursing home abuse and serve as grounds for legal action.

Physical elder abuse occurs when someone injures, threatens or inappropriately restrains or handles a senior. Examples of physical abuse include; acts of violence, inappropriate use of drugs, threatening with a gun or knife, restraining a senior in a chair or bed and force feeding.

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