The Impact of Elder Abuse on Long-Term Health

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A 2017 study supported by the World Health Organization estimates that, over the past year, 15.7% of people age 60 or over have been subject to some form of abuse. As elder abuse is one of the most underreported crimes, this is likely to be an underestimation. This study was published by Lancet Global Health, and it addresses not only the incidence of elder abuse across the world, but also suggests that elder abuse has long-term health effects. This study determined that the highest rate of elder abuse is psychological abuse and noted that this form of abuse can have especially negative health consequences. When a senior citizen’s psychological health is damaged, it can lead to increased risk of nursing home placement, hospital services, use of emergency services and even death. Although all forms of elder abuse can have a negative effect on victims’ health, this study suggests that psychological abuse may be the most internally damaging. It is of paramount importance that awareness is raised regarding the prevalence of elder abuse in our society and that people learn enough information about elder abuse to be able to identify and stop it.

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