Things You Should Know About Elder Abuse and Its Consequences – Guest Post

Elder Abuse

Elders are an essential part of our society that people often overlook. They are why you are here since they birthed and ensured you grew up right. Some have survived The Great Depression, World War 2, and other historical occurrences. So, they have a thing or two they can share about how to handle adversity in life.

Yet, these people are often neglected and even abused. According to a review in 2017, 15.7% of people over 60 years were subjected to abuse. This piece will dig deeper into the matter and help you understand some of the consequences.

Elder Abuse

What is elder abuse?

Elder abuse is an intentional act that, in most cases, creates a risk of harm to an older adult. Failure to act on certain issues or dispense required assistance to the aging adult can threaten the older adult’s life. While you expect older adults to suffer abuse from strangers, it’s the caregivers or close relatives that abuse them.

According to research, one out of ten aging adults has suffered under the hands of caregivers and immediate relatives. Furthermore, close to five million older Americans are abused annually. Surprisingly, most of these cases are not reported to the relevant authorities.

Therefore, a higher number of older adults suffer silently. The harm from abuse degrades their dignity, brings stress and depression, and even costs them their lives.

Despite the rapid growth of the aging population, their abuse continues to spike daily. While most people expect to enjoy retirement benefits peacefully, not everyone gets that golden privilege.

Older adults in both developed and developing countries continue to experience abuse perpetrated by a close relative without minding the consequences that may occur to their loved ones. While the world tries to solve this silent problem, here are things you should know about elder abuse and the consequences that will help minimize the risks created by elder abuse.

Types of Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is a health problem expected to increase tremendously since many countries are experiencing an aging population. During the heightened Covid 19 pandemic, the abuse rate of older people is said to have also increased.

This was because of the lockdown and other stresses experienced during that time. Today, elder abuse comes in different forms, as discussed below:

1.   Financial Abuse

Financial elder abuse is common and frequent abuse that older people experience due to vulnerability. Usually, the caregivers and close households are the ones who perpetrate the action against older people.

Financial elder abuse occurs in different forms, including misappropriation of the elder’s finances in rental properties, valuable assets, and forging cheques.

2.   Physical Abuse

Physical abuse entails inflicting pain or injury on the older adult’s body resulting from intentional physical acts such as bruises, broken arms, slapping, and burning. This abuse accounts for 2.6% of all the abuse behind mental, financial, and neglect.

In many countries, elder physical abuse increased during covid 19 pandemic. Compared with the previous years, the percentage of elderly physical abuse was reported to have increased in rural parts of some countries, such as China, compared to the urban areas.

3.   Psychological/Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse, also known as psychological abuse, is the most common elder form of abuse, with the highest prevalence of 11.6%. Emotional abuse is the verbal and non-verbal cues that cause mental anguish, distress, fear, and anxiety in older adults. Verbal and non-verbal behaviors include frequent threats, degradation, bullying, humiliation, and disrespect.

For instance, a close relative or caregiver caring for an older adult may disrespect, inflicting mental pain and distress. While many older people rarely share their struggles and stress due to vulnerability, many commit suicide due to chronic stress and depression.

4.   Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is gender-based violence that every country strives to combat daily. With the prevalence of many aging populations worldwide, older adults suffer the wrath of sexual abuse. The abuse includes forced intimacy, sexual harassment, or unconsented sexual contact.

Also, forcing older adults to indulge in unwanted sexual behavior or watch offensive clips in their presence without prior consent is a form of sexual abuse. Elders can be sexually assaulted by anyone, including doctors, caregivers, and nurses, who rob them of their dignity and overall self-esteem.

5.   Neglect

Elder neglect occurs when caregivers fail to provide enough and adequate necessities to the older people that entirely depend on them, resulting in illness or critical injuries.

Neglect is revealed in the following ways; dirty clothing, malnutrition, untreated injuries, insufficient food, and poor hygiene. Elder neglect often results from the caregiver’s carelessness in handling older adults.

Elder Abuse

Consequences of Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is happening each day. However, only a small number of people report these incidents. Sometimes the victims blame themselves for the abuse, making it difficult to heal. Here are possible effects that could result from elder abuse.

1.   Psychological distress

Any abuse is likely to cause distress and depression to older adults. The events during or before the mistreatment can be traumatizing and horrifying for many people. Therefore, you cause harm to the elderly, especially those with special conditions such as dementia.

2.   Physical Injuries

Physical abuse will leave visible injuries that will worsen the health condition of elderly adults. The injuries inflict pain physically and can lead to stress and depression. This is because injuries tend to heal and repair slowly as you age.

3.   Dehydration and Malnutrition

These signs and symptoms occur when an elderly adult is neglected, and his needs are not prioritized. Dehydration and Malnutrition mainly occur due to poor diet, inadequate intake of water, and failure to take supplements. So, if you are entrusted with an older adult to take care of, ensure you prescribe the correct diet to avoid deficiency diseases resulting from malnutrition.

4.   Financial loss

Elderly abuse may lead to financial instability due to changes in income-earning opportunities. Misuse of money by the primary caregivers or relatives without transparency and accountability can contribute to the loss of finance, making elders’ lives more unbearable.

5.   Early Death

Elderly abuses have a high potential to take them to the grave early. Psychological abuse will likely heighten the chances of developing mental issues that can bring about suicidal thoughts. However, creating a friendly environment to engage freely can reduce the risk created by intentional abuses.

Elder Abuse


With so many countries experiencing an accelerated aging population, elder abuse remains a social and health problem that needs to be solved urgently. Elder abuse can have severe and endangering results that can lead to death or harm to the people.

Therefore, understanding the consequences of such intentional acts will help you take good care and support the older people in our society. Remember, elders matter, and everyone who lives past the life expectancy age will be an elder.