Statistics uncover a frightening picture of elder abuse in this country. One of every 20 elderly people will be a victim of neglect or physical, psychological or financial abuse this year. The problem may get worse as the number of elderly Americans increases. People over age 65 will number about 95 million by the year 2060. They will be a big part of the country's population -- almost one sixth of the total. Those aged 85 years or older are the fastest growing group.
As the elderly population multiplies, so will the incidence of elder abuse if we don't take action. We must recognize the seriousness of the problem and take steps to prevent it.
There are four general types of elder abuse:
Physical abuse is the infliction of harm or injury on a dependent or elder adult person by someone who stands in a position of trust, or who has care or custody of the elder or dependent person. Physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain or impairment may include, but is not limited to:
Financial abuse is using the elder's money or assets contrary to the elder's wishes, needs, or best interests, or for the abuser's personal gain. It may also be accomplished by undue influence. Undue influence is when a person in a position of trust, coerces a vulnerable elder into giving away or loaning money or property, either directly, or through a trust, marriage, inheritance, or adoption.
Emotional or psychological abuse is the infliction of mental anguish by using language that is demanding, cruel, insulting or causes concern for one's safety
Neglect occurs when a caregiver denies an elder or dependent adult food, medication, proper clothing or hygiene, or medical attention. Neglect includes, but is not limited to: