In 2011, an estimated 3 – 5 million older adults in America were victims of some form of abuse. According to national data, elder abuse occurs primarily in domestic situations, with perpetrators most likely being family members or trusted caregivers. Older adults themselves are unlikely to report abuse. They most often suffer in silence, unable to speak out to a society that does not listen well. It frequently occurs behind closed doors or in front of people who do not want to get involved.
While neglect remains the most common type of elder abuse including self-neglect, financial exploitation has seen a sharp increase and now accounts for approximately 20% of cases reported. An increase in age also increases the likelihood of abuse, neglect and exploitation. Adults 80 years and older are 2 to 3 times more likely to be abused.
The Elder Maltreatment Alliance is made up of professionals in aging and consumers who have a strong desire to assist in eliminating elder abuse. Current membership includes professionals from law enforcement and emergency response, banks, attorneys, nursing and assisted living facilities, home health agencies, social service agencies, hospitals colleges and the Area Agency on Aging. Meetings are open to anyone interested in advocating for prevention of elder abuse.