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Facts About Elder Abuse in the United States

Elder abuse includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, neglect, and abandonment.  Perpetrators include children, other family members, and spouses – as well as staff at nursing homes and assisted living and other facilities.  It has become “the crime of the 21st century” as America rapidly ages.

  • Nearly five million cases of elder abuse occur each year, but 85% go unreported.
  • The typical victim of elder abuse is a woman over 75 who lives alone.
  • Some 14,000 allegations of abuse, neglect or gross negligence are reported in nursing homes.
  • Close to 50% of those with dementia experience some form of abuse.
  • Elders who have been abused have a 300% higher risk of death when compared to those who are not mistreated.
  • Elder financial abuse costs older Americans more than $2.6 billion per year.
  • Family, friends, caregivers and neighbors are the culprits in financial abuse cases more than half the time.
  • Less than 2% of federal abuse prevention dollars go to elder mistreatment efforts. 91% is spent on child abuse and 7% on domestic abuse.
  • Financial abuse accounts for nearly 21% of the allegations of mistreatment investigated by Adult Protective Services.
  • By 2030, the numbers of older Americans over age 85 – those most at risk for abuse – will more than double.