Trauma Survivors Network - provided by ATS

Survive. Connect. Rebuild.

A Program of the ATS

Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is the physical, sexual, and psychological abuse of adults over age 60 including maltreatment, neglect, and self neglect. Elderly people are also more vulnerable to economic abuse ( In the U.S. it is estimated that 4% to 6 % of the elderly people have experienced some type of abuse either in their house or nursing home. According to the National Elder Abuse Incidence Study in 1998, the majority of abuses occur in private residence. In 1996, almost 450,000 adults over 60 years old were abused or neglected in residential settings, with another 100,000 reported cases of self-neglect. Not all of these cases were substantiated among investigation by Adult Protection Services. Of these cases, the most common form of elderly abuse was by family members (17%), social service workers (27%), followed by caregiver neglect (24%), and financial exploitation (21%). Self-neglect was the most common cause of reported cases followed by caregiver neglect, and financial exploitation (Teaster et al., 2006).

In a U.S. based study, “36% of nursing-home staff reported having witnessed at least one incident of physical abuse of an elderly patient in the previous year, 10% admitting having committed at least one act of physical abuse themselves, and 40% said that they had psychologically abused patients” (

World Health Organization

The 2004 Survey of State Adult Protective Services: Abuse of Adults 60 Years of Age and Older. The National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the National Adult Protective Services Association. National Center on Elder Abuse. 2004. Teaster PB, Dugar TA, Abner EL, Cecil KA.

Associated pages

*Risk Factors
Prevention Strategies
Additional Resources