What Is Elder Abuse? FAQs
- According to the 2010 Census, our population of older adults is at its largest ever (13% of the population) – and growing.
- Elder abuse is defined as intentional actions that cause harm or create a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable older adult, by a caregiver or person in a trust relationship.
- Older women are more at risk than older men.
- Elder abuse takes many forms:
- Physical abuse – use of force, harm or physical injury
- Emotional abuse – mistreatment that affects emotional or mental health, including intimidation, threats, harassment, belittlement or isolation.
- Sexual abuse – sexual contact without consent.
- Neglect – failure to provide a dependent senior with basic necessities.
- Financial abuse – misuse of the older adult’s money, personal property or resources.
- 90% of all elder abuse cases also include some form of financial abuse.
- Only 1 in 14 cases ever comes to the attention of authorities.
- The majority of abuse happens at the hands of family members (approximately 90%). Family members who abuse drugs or alcohol, who have a mental/emotional illness, and who feel burdened by their caregiving responsibilities abuse at higher rates than those who do not.
- Older adults with disabilities are at greater risk of abuse.
- An estimated 47% of older adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s endure abuse.
- The impact of abuse, neglect and exploitation of older adults leads to immense direct medical costs, estimated at more than $5.3 billion.
- The annual financial loss by victims of elder financial exploitation was estimated at $2.9 billion in 2009 (the latest figures).
To report elder abuse in Michigan, call 1-855-444-3911.
Victims and their advocates can call (248) 661-0123 for help and access to the Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at Jewish Senior Life.