Elder abuse refers to any intentional or negligent act or failure to act that causes harm or distress to an older adult. It involves actions or omissions that result in physical, emotional, financial, or sexual harm, as well as neglect or abandonment of an elderly individual.
Elder abuse is a distressing and concerning issue that affects older adults, often in vulnerable situations. It encompasses various forms of mistreatment inflicted upon seniors, including physical abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, financial exploitation, sexual abuse, and neglect.
Physical abuse involves the use of force that causes pain, injury, or impairment to an elderly person. This can include hitting, pushing, restraining, or withholding essential care or medication. Emotional or psychological abuse refers to behaviors that inflict mental anguish, fear, or distress on older adults, such as verbal insults, humiliation, isolation, or intimidation.
Financial exploitation occurs when someone misuses or manipulates an older person’s financial resources without their consent or understanding, leading to financial loss or fraud. This can involve theft, forgery, scams, coercion, or undue influence. Sexual abuse refers to any non-consensual sexual contact or exploitation of an older adult, including unwanted touching, sexual assault, or coercion.
Neglect is another form of elder abuse and involves the failure to provide adequate care, support, or attention to meet the basic needs of an older person. This may include neglecting medical care, hygiene, nutrition, or leaving the individual in unsafe or unsanitary conditions. Abandonment occurs when a caregiver or responsible person deserts or abandons an elderly person, leaving them without necessary support or care.
Recognizing and addressing elder abuse requires awareness, education, and action. It is important for family members, caregivers, healthcare professionals, and communities to be vigilant and report any suspected cases of elder abuse to the appropriate authorities. Many countries have helplines and organizations dedicated to addressing elder abuse and providing support to victims and their families.
Dr. Laura Mosqueda – Geriatrician, researcher, and expert on elder abuse and neglect.
Dr. XinQi Dong – Geriatrician, researcher, and advocate for elder abuse prevention and intervention.
Dr. Terry Fulmer – Geriatric nurse, researcher, and expert on elder abuse and patient safety.
Dr. Pamela B. Teaster – Gerontologist and expert on elder abuse and neglect.
Kathy Greenlee – Former Assistant Secretary for Aging and advocate for elder rights and protection.
1. National Center on Elder Abuse https://ncea.acl.gov/
2. National Institute on Aging – Elder Abuse https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/elder-abuse
3. Elder Justice Initiative – U.S. Department of Justice: www.justice.gov/elderjustice
4. National Adult Protective Services Association https://www.napsa-now.org/