Approximately 10% of those older than 65 are abused. Victims usually live with their assailants, who are often their children. Mistreatment includes abuse and neglect and takes physical, psychological, financial, and material forms. The abuser may withhold food, clothing, or other necessities or beat, sexually molest, or emotionally abuse the victim.
As with spousal abuse, the elder person is often reluctant to reveal the abuse. Clinicians should be alert to the signs of abuse. Treatment involves appropriate medical and psychiatric services and social and legal services. Some states mandate reporting of elder abuse.
Revision date: June 14, 2011
Last revised: by Andrew G. Epstein, M.D.