New Study Shows Elder Abuse in The U.S. is Increasing

According to a new government report, nonfatal assaults on American men 60 and older have substantially risen between 2002 and 2016. Data from the report shows nonfatal assaults on this particular demographic have increased by 75.4% during the 14 year period. When it comes to women in this age group, assaults increased by 35.4% between 2007 and 2016.

Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, “These findings highlight the need to strengthen violence prevention among older adults. Unfortunately, few strategies have been rigorously evaluated.”

In order to conduct the study, researchers gathered data from two government databases: the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System and the National Vital Statistics System.

One of the major takeaways from the new report is that older adults account for a much larger portion of our society than we thought. Research shows that people over the age of 60 made up 22% of the US population in 2017. The CDC expects the number to reach 28% by 2050.

Below are some of the findings from the report:

  • There were 643,191 nonfatal assaults among adults 60 or older.
  • There were 19,059 homicides among adults 60 or older.
  • 87% of assaults involved the elderly person being struck or hit.
  • The rate of nonfatal assaults increased from 77.7 per 100,000 men to 136.3 per 100,000.
  • The rate of nonfatal assaults among women increased from 43.8 per 100,000 to 59.3.
  • Men experienced higher rates of nonfatal assaults than women.
  • Men experienced higher rates of homicides than women.
  • Men between the ages of 60 and 69 had the highest rate of assaults and homicides.
  • Women between the ages of 70 and 79 experienced the lowest rate of nonfatal assaults.
  • Although assaults among the elderly increased, the murder rate decreased throughout the study period.

Speaking about the significance of the new report, Dr. XinQi Dong, a professor and the director of the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research at Rutgers University, said the following:

“[It] sheds a light on the important issue of safety of older adults in the U.S. Really, I don’t think we can just take this report without highlighting the broader context of safety for older adults at home. It’s not just about assaults. It’s about psychological abuse; it’s about neglect; it’s about exploitation. They’re very much interconnected. There’s not enough attention paid to the victimization of older adults. It’s an understudied, underfunded, under-appreciated topic that affects the aging population, and society really needs to pay attention.”