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Elder abuse constitutes the abuse of anyone over the age of 60 who has been exploited, neglected or abused by a caregiver. One research study of senior citizens reported that more than 11 percent of this age group suffered some form of elder abuse. Every year, more than 2.6 billion dollars is stolen from seniors as a result of financial elder abuse.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 500,000 adults over the age of 60 years old are abused annually. Some estimates put the figure of elder abuse as high as 3.5 million cases each year. Also, there are more cases of elderly women being abused versus older men.
Also, a recent study published in JAMA stated "elders who experience abuse, neglect, or self-neglect face considerably higher risk of premature death than elders who have not been mistreated."
Many times elder abuse is treated as a family matter and not reported to the proper authorities. Due to shame and embarrassment, many seniors will not report the abuse or crimes committed against them.
One research study states only one in six cases of elder abuse is reported to law enforcement.
Unfortunately, as our population ages, more of our seniors may become victims of elder abuse.
There are several types of elder abuse. They include:
• Abandonment--Caregiver purposefully abandons the senior.
• Emotional abuse--This is classified as abuse when a caregiver uses
threats, acts or verbally abusive language which causes the senior stress.
• Exploitation--Stealing or removing elder’s property without elder’s
consent. This includes unapproved use of elder’s credit cards or money.
• Neglect--The caregiver refuses or fails to meet the senior’s
physical and emotional needs.
• Physical abuse--When a caregiver uses physical force and injures a senior.
• Sexual abuse--When a caregiver has forced or non-consensual sex
with an elderly person.
Here are several warning signs of elder abuse:
• Unexplained bruises, burns or marks on the senior’s body
• Bed sores
• Senior suffers from dehydration or malnutrition
• Unexplained credit card charges or written checks