Local Opinion: Elder abuse and the power of social isolation and loneliness
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was June 15. The day was designated by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization to increase sensitivity to the fact that, worldwide, 15.7% of older adults experience some form of mistreatment. In the U.S., about 1 in 6 is a victim.
Elder abuse has many forms including physical, sexual and psychological violence and intimidation, neglect and financial exploitation. It occurs in different settings: nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, private homes, public places. It involves different types of abusers: spouses, other family members, health and care professionals, and strangers.
While limited, research on elder abuse shows it has one critically important message: Social isolation is the breeding ground for all forms of abuse.