How common is Elder Abuse?

Older adults have a high level of vulnerability due to their dependence on others for care. Yet, many elderly and their caregivers are hesitant to report elder abuse. This makes it very difficult to answer the question of how often it occurs.

The abuse of older adults ("elder abuse") is defined by the CDC as "any abuse or neglect of persons age 60 and older by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust." There are currently 40 million people in the US who are 65 and older; and, unfortunately, many of them have suffered abuse.

A study conducted by Cornell University discovered some disturbing statistics. One of the most distressing determinations was that the actual elder abuse rate is almost 24 times higher than the number reported to agencies such as law enforcement, social services and other authorities. The study also found that the most prevalent form of elder abuse is psychological.

In nursing home settings, older adults have a greater chance of suffering abuse. The National Center on Elder Abuse found that 44% of residents, in a study of 2,000 people, had been abused. Also, 95% of those surveyed reported some type of neglect while in the nursing home. This same study states that a phenomenal 50% of nursing home staff admitted that they had mistreated residents at some point.

If you suspect any type of elder abuse, contact our attorneys for guidance about how to handle this important issue.

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