World Elder Abuse Awareness – June 2022
Elder abuse is not a subject that is easy to discuss nor is it something that is often reported. Yet, it is a serious and growing problem in the United States.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, commemorated every year on June 15th, brings to focus the issue of elder abuse. The purpose is to share information about abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older adults and the resources and supports available to increase victim safety.
Elder abuse is defined as an intentional act or the failure to act that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult aged 60 or over. According to statistics from the Department of Justice, at least 10 percent of the population over age 60 have experienced some form of abuse. Usually, the abuse occurs at the hands of a family member, caregiver, or a person the older adult trusts. The trauma of elder abuse can result in premature death, the deterioration of physical and mental health, destruction of social and family ties, and devastating financial loss. Abuse most often takes place where older adults live, in the home, or in institutional settings such as nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Elderly women, and those over age 80, are more likely to be victimized.
One of the most preventable forms of elder abuse is self-neglect or the diminished capacity of older adults to care for themselves. Self-neglect can include a lack of basic hygiene or food and proper nutrition, unsanitary or unsafe living conditions, the inability to pay bills, or properly manage medications. Self-neglect is a complicated issue and can be a sign of depression, grief, dementia, or other medical condition. In many cases, the older adult will refuse to seek assistance for fear of losing their independence. However, by accepting help, many older adults can become more capable of living independently and can continue to live at home.
If you or someone you know shows signs of abuse and needs help, reach out to our Information and Referral specialists at Boston ElderINFO. Call 617-292-6211, email [email protected], or submit a referral online at by clicking here. Our Information and Referral specialists can answer your questions and guide you through your options.
If you are concerned about an older adult or have reason to believe they are a victim of elder abuse, call the Massachusetts-based Abuse Hotline at 1-800-922-2275. You can also file a report online at https://www.mass.gov/reporting-elder-abuse-neglect.