Elder Abuse

Why Screen?

  • Elder/dependent adult abuse is one of the most underreported crimes in the country, with approximately 1 in 20 elders being abused, as well as an unknown but larger number of dependent adults.

  • Elder/dependent adult abuse is a repetitive crime that often involves multiple types of ongoing abuse.

  • After controlling for age, comorbidity, and socioeconomic factors, abused elders are 3x more likely to die than nonabused seniors. - JAMA 1998;280:428

  • Neglect can wrongly be attributed to depression or dementia.

  • Once pressure ulcers appear, they are much more likely to recur in the same place with minimal trauma, and therefore become a chronic problem.

  • Elderly women may be too ashamed to report sexual abuse.

  • Some studies report over 50% of female dependent adults are sexually abused, often repeatedly.

  • Self neglect is one of the largest categories of abuse, and is reportable.

  • Screening the caregiver can help identify caregiver frustration and burnout, which can then be addressed to help prevent abuse.


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