Statistics on Elderly Abuse

Top Elderly Abuse Stats

  • 1 in 6 people 60 years and older experienced some form of abuse (World Health Organization)
  • Elder abuse has increased 84% from before the COVID pandemic. (Chang, 2021)
  • Elder abuse is rampant in nursing homes. Over 64% of nursing homes and long-term staff reported perpetrating some form of abuse in the past year. (World Health Organization)
  • Only 1 in 24 cases of elderly abuse are reported to authorities. (NCEA)
  • The problem of elder abuse will only get worse. The global population of people aged 60 years and older is expected to double, from 900 million in 2015 to about 2 billion in 2050. (World Health Organization)
  • Up to five million older Americans are abused every year. (NCOA)

Statistics About Common Types of Elder Abuse

  • 33% of senior adults have reported experiencing psychological abuse in an institutional setting (like a nursing home or long-term care facility). (World Health Organization)
  • Other types of abuse happen too — while psychological abuse was the most common, older residents also reported physical abuse (14.1%), financial abuse (13.8%), neglect (11.6%), and sexual abuse (1.9%) in one 2019 study.
  • Financial abuse can take many forms, including identity theft, non-permissible use of debit or credit cards, internet phishing, as well as a number of senior-targeted scams such as lottery scams, telemarketing scams, or abuse of power of attorney.
  • 54% of elderly financial abuse perpetrators are family members. (Conrad, 2019)
  • It’s estimated that $36.5 billion dollars are lost to seniors annually as victims of financial abuse (NCOA)
  • 38% of elders reported experiencing at least one instance of verbal abuse (Fulmer, 2014)

Elder Abuse Victims & Perpetrators

  • Nearly 50% of elderly seniors with dementia experience abuse or neglect. (National Council on Aging)
  • Family members are the most common abusers. In almost 60% of elder abuse and neglect incidents, the perpetrator is a family member. Two-thirds of elder abuse perpetrators are a senior’s adult children or spouse. (NCOA)
  • One study funded by the Department of Justice found that abuse by non-intimate family members (ex. family members who are not a spouse or partner) significantly increased from 35.5% to 65.2% as older women victims reach 60 years or older. (Klien, 2008)
  • Community makes a difference. Study models have shown that a sense of community is one of the most persistent protective factors for preventing elder abuse. (Chang, 2021)
  • Over 643,000 older adults were treated in the emergency department for non-fatal assaults from 2002 to 2016, along with over 19,000 homicides occurred. (CDC)
  • Compared with women, men had higher rates of both nonfatal assaults and homicides due to elder abuse. The rate for nonfatal assaults has increased more than 75% among men (from 2002–2016) and more than 35% among women (from 2007–2016).(CDC)
  • Elders who have been abused have a 300% higher risk of death when compared to those who have not been mistreated. (NCOA)

Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes & Care Facilities

  • 1 in 5 high-risk hospital emergency room visits by those residing in a skilled nursing facility are the result of potential abuse or neglect. (HSS)
  • Despite federal requirements, skilled nursing facilities have been shown to often not report incidents of potential abuse or neglect (HHS)
  • The federal government cited more than 1,000 nursing homes between 2013 and 2016 for mishandling or failing to prevent alleged cases of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse at their facilities (CNN Report)
  • One study reported that 24% of long-term care residents had at least one incident of physical abuse by nursing home staff. (Schiamberg, 2012)
elder abuse statistics

Make sure to read our guide on types of elder abuse and how to avoid them for a better idea regarding the full range of elder abuse and how to recognize signs of abuse.

Who is most often the victim of elder abuse?

Women are most often the victims of elder abuse, and seems to be more common for those in an institutional setting (such as a nursing home or long-term care facility).

What is the most common cause of elder abuse?

The most common type of elder abuse is psychological abuse (such as verbal threats), reported by 33% of elderly seniors in an institutional setting (i.e., nursing home or long-term care facility). Other types of elder abuse include physical abuse, financial abuse, neglect, and sexual abuse.

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