The recent stories in the news have called the nation’s attention to the issue of domestic violence.
Statistics show that 1 in every 4 women have faced some form of abuse in their lifetime.¹ This is a truly alarming statistic, and it is unacceptable. But, what is more shocking is that only one quarter of all domestic physical assault is reported to the police.² The reality of abuse in America is not something that anyone should have to deal with alone, and for that reason, it is important for us to join the conversation. However, we must also call attention to our seniors as it relates to elder abuse.
Unfortunately, the statistics about elder abuse are appalling.
Each year, over 2 million seniors are abused, neglected and exploited,³ with a large majority of these cases going unreported. Elder abuse goes beyond physical and sexual violence and includes things like neglect, abandonment, emotional abuse and financial scamming.
Despite the fact that nearly one-third of the U.S. population is caring for an aging loved one, elder abuse remains a hidden problem that is largely under-recognized and under-reported. In fact, it is estimated that only one in six cases or fewer are ever reported, meaning the majority of victims never get help!
According to experts, abuse typically occurs in the victim’s own home rather than a nursing home, and more often than not, the abuser is someone the victim trusts and relies on for care, such as a family member, caregiver or trusted advisor.
Now that the news media is giving such a strong voice to domestic violence and abuse, let’s also include protecting seniors as a focus in this national discussion.
Like the issue of domestic violence, we must continue talking about this important issue. We must be aware of this staggering epidemic, learning the signs and symptoms of elder abuse and reporting suspected abuse to the appropriate authorities.
¹ According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
² According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
³ According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, Bureau of Justice Statistics