Elder Abuse: An Underreported Problem in the US

According to an unsettling new report from the World Health Organization, millions of elderly people report instances of abuse every month. You read that right - every month. This problem is widely projected to get worse due to the world’s rapidly aging population and contracting global economy. While most of the elderly in the United States reside in hospitals, nursing homes, or professional medical care facilities, WHO representatives believe that elder abuse represents as much of a problem in our country as does in the rest of the world.

The WHO suggests that Americans may not be aware of the extent of elder abuse in our care facilities because good data is scarce. Indeed, since hospitals and nursing homes in the US are largely privately-owned, if these facilities even keep data regarding elder abuse issues and investigations, they generally do not make that data public - and have no incentive to do so.

According to the report:  “A survey of nursing-home staff in the USA suggests rates may be high: 36 per cent witnessed at least one incident of physical abuse of an elderly patient in the previous year; 10 per cent committed at least one act of physical abuse towards an elderly patient; and 40 per cent admitted to psychologically abusing patients.”

As shocking and disturbing as these findings are, we applaud the WHO for shining a spotlight on an increasingly troubling trend afflicting our aging population.


If you or a loved one have been the victim of elder abuse, please contact our attorneys for a free consultation at 1-855-462-3330 or directly via email by clicking here.