As many as 1 in 10 American seniors may be victims of “elder abuse” -- mistreatment, neglect and exploitation of a physical, psychological, or sexual nature -- according to a new report by the National Academy on an Aging Society.
The academy’s Public Policy & Aging Report found that a troubling number of seniors 60 and older are still victimized, despite federal legislation that was passed to combat the problem as part of 2010's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
“Despite the 2010 passage of the Elder Justice Act, policy experts have found that combating widespread abuse of seniors is still not a top priority for care providers and governments alike,” according to report’s authors.
The report, which included introductory statements by leading senior advocates U.S. Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) and U.S. Representative Peter King (R-NY), noted the act has received no appropriations to date.
Lead author Marie-Therese Connolly analyzed the numerous agencies with responsibility for addressing elder abuse and found those efforts continue to lack coordination and direction.
"The human and economic toll exacted by elder abuse is vast, cruel, and costly," said Connolly. "It's an issue where real federal leadership and a modest investment of resources — by Congress, the [Obama] Administration, and private funders — could have a profound impact, mitigating the suffering of millions of people and saving billions of dollars."
Connolly’s report noted elder abuse can increase rates of mortality, injury and disease, as well as a four-fold increase in nursing home admissions.