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Elder Abuse

are intentional acts, or failures to act, by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult.

(An older adult is defined as someone age 60 or older.*

DEFINITION:

*Source: Center For Disease Control

Myths vs. Facts

  • Most elder abuse occurs in nursing homes

  • If an older person is being abused physically, it will be obvious.

  • Educated people don’t fall for scams.

  • If older people say they are not being abused, it didn’t happen.

  • Elder abuse is not a big deal

  •  Caregivers who abuse do so because they are stressed.

  • Most elder abuse occurs at home, with family members and other loved ones (who they know and trust) as the perpetrators. 

  • Physical abuse is not always visible.  Additionally, people may interpret bruises and other physical signs as the result of age-related issues, such as an increased risk of falls. Or an older adult who is being denied food may lose weight, but loved ones and even doctors may assume that’s due to other physical ailments.

  • Many elder abuse victims decide not to tell anyone what happened to them, experts say. Many don’t report the abuse because they are afraid of getting a loved one in trouble. Some don’t report the truth because they worry the alternative — such as going to a nursing home — would be worse.

  • One in 10 older adults in the U.S. is abused, according to the 2010 National Elder Mistreatment Study. 

  • Caregiver stress is real. But blaming elder abuse on stress shifts the responsibility away from the abuser. 

Downloadable Resources

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