Elder Abuse and Nursing Home Neglect


Understaffed Nursing HomesWould you know if it was happening to someone you love?

Every day, headlines throughout the U.S. paint a grim picture of seniors who have been abused, neglected, and exploited, often by people they trust the most. Abusers may be spouses, family members, personal acquaintances, or professionals in positions of trust, or opportunistic strangers who prey on the vulnerable.

How big is the problem?

Research indicates that more than one in ten elders may experience some type of abuse, but only one in 23 cases are reported. This means that very few seniors who have been abused get the help they need. One thing is for certain: elder abuse can happen to any older individual – your neighbor, your loved one – it can even happen to you.

Why should you care?

Elder abuse can truly happen to anyone. Research indicates that one in ten American elders is affected by abuse. Unfortunately, elder abuse can happen in all types of relationships as a result of family dynamics, care giver interactions, or targeted scams that prey on vulnerability. Only through YOU can we make progress in changing the statistics and addressing the abuse that is occurring.

What is elder abuse?

In general, elder abuse refers to intentional or neglectful acts by a caregiver or “trusted” individual that lead to, or may lead to, harm of a vulnerable elder. Physical abuse; neglect; emotional or psychological abuse; verbal abuse and threats; financial abuse and exploitation; sexual abuse; and abandonment are considered forms of elder abuse. In many states, self-neglect is also considered mistreatment.

Who is at risk?

Elder abuse can occur anywhere – in the home, in nursing homes, or other institutions. It affects seniors across all socio-economic groups, cultures, and races. Based on available information, women and “older” elders are more likely to be victimized. Dementia is a significant risk factor. Mental health and substance abuse issues – of both abusers and victims – are risk factors. Isolation can also contribute to risk.