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At What Age Is It Considered Elder Abuse?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines elder abuse as mistreatment of a victim who is 60 years or older. That said, different types of elder abuse pose a higher risk to older adults depending on their age. Learn how age plays a role in elder abuse.

Elder Abuse & Ages of Victims

When someone 60 years of age or older is abused, the CDC considers the offense elder abuse. Leading organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) also use this statistic.

However, different types of elder abuse affect people at higher rates depending on their age. For example, older adults in their 70s risk losing more money in cases of financial abuse than those in their 60s or 80s.

Elder abuse of all types can be very dangerous — even life-threatening — for victims. Thankfully, families can learn how abuse impacts seniors by age and how to report elder abuse to keep older loved ones safe.

How Elder Abuse Affects People By Age

Elder Abuse of Seniors Aged 60-69

Seniors aged 60-69 are at a higher risk for several types of abuse. Adults in their 60s were more likely to disclose emotional or verbal abuse when compared to those age 70 or older, according to a study cited by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA).

The same study also found seniors in this age group also experienced physical and financial abuse at higher rates than those in their 70s.

It is important to realize that seniors of any age can be a victim though, especially if they are dealing with significant health issues. Physical and emotional abuse can cause lasting trauma or even life-threatening injuries.

Elder Abuse of Seniors Aged 70-79

While those in their 60s may be more likely to suffer from financial abuse, seniors aged 70-79 are at risk of losing more money on average.

Elder financial abuse occurs when another individual takes control of an older adult’s finances without their permission. This may involve transferring money, making investments, or taking annuities without the elder’s knowledge.

According to a report from AARP and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), elders aged 70-79 lose the most money from financial abuse every year: $45,300 on average. Those over the age of 80 lost $39,200 on average. Those aged 60-69 lost the least amount of money at $22,700 on average.

The negative impact of financial abuse on seniors is significant. It can prevent seniors from having the financial support needed to fund medical treatments or their retirement lifestyle.

Loss of control over their finances, and being taken advantage of by others, can also have a serious negative effect on an older adult’s mental health.

Elder Abuse of Seniors Aged 80 or Older

Seniors aged 80 or older are more likely to have dementia, a mental health condition that puts people at greater risk of all kinds of abuse.

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, 1 in 6 people aged 80 or higher has dementia. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) reports that almost 50% of people with dementia or similar mental impairments suffer from abuse.

Dementia patients have a higher risk of elder or nursing home abuse because the condition may make it harder for them to note warning signs or report them.

In 2015, a nursing home staff member was convicted of raping an 83-year-old resident with dementia. He was sentenced to 8 years in prison and agreed to pay $15 million to the family if he was ever convicted of abusing another elderly person.

If you believe that a senior with dementia is at risk for elder abuse or has been a victim, you should contact law enforcement and the state’s department of aging or elder services immediately.

All Elder Abuse Is Unacceptable

No matter what age a person is abused, it is never acceptable. Elder abuse at any age can cause long-term trauma, injuries, illnesses, or even death.

It is important to contact law enforcement and the state authorities if elder abuse is suspected. Reporting elder abuse can help to stop it before it causes serious or long-term harm.

Our team can also help you through the legal aspects of the case so that your loved one gets the representation that they deserve. If you believe that a loved one has suffered from elder abuse in a nursing home, get a free case review — compensation may be available.

Author:Nursing Home Abuse Justice Team
Nursing Home Abuse Justice Team

Nursing Home Abuse Justice was founded to shine a light on nursing home and elder abuse. Every day, thousands of people in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are abused. Our team helps educate seniors and their loved ones on the common causes, signs and preventions of nursing home abuse. We report on real-world studies and current events from respected news outlets to expose this national problem.

Last modified: April 23, 2021

View 6 References
  1. The National Council on Aging. (2021, February 23). Get the Facts on Elder Abuse. Retrieved April 15, 2021, from www.ncoa.org/article/get-the-facts-on-elder-abuse

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (12 May 2020). Preventing Elder Abuse. Retrieved April 15, 2021, from www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/elderabuse/fastfact.html

  3. Serres, C. (2015, November 13). Aide Gets 8 Years for Rape of 83-Year-Old Patient at Minneapolis Nursing Home. Retrieved April 15, 2021, from www.startribune.com/nursing-aide-sentenced-to-8-years-for-rape-of-83-year-old-alzheimer-s-patient-at-minneapolis-home/347167342/

  4. Serres, C. (2015, September 22). Minneapolis Nursing Home Aide Pleads Guilty to Rape of 83-Year-Old Dementia Patient. Retrieved April 15, 2021, from www.startribune.com/minneapolis-nursing-home-aide-pleads-guilty-to-rape-of-83-year-old-dementia-patient/328541871/

  5. World Health Organization. (2020, June 15). Elder abuse. Retrieved April 22, 2021, from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/elder-abuse

  6. U.S. Department of Justice. (n.d.). Elder abuse and elder financial exploitation statutes. Retrieved April 22, 2021, from https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice/prosecutors/statutes