Elder Abuse and Its Prevention – Workshop Summary

Data suggests that one in 10 older adults in the United States experience physical, psychological, and sexual abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation. Elder abuse violates older adults’ fundamental rights to be safe and free from violence. In low- and middle-income countries, where the burden of violence is the greatest, the prevalence of elder abuse is likely higher. With the global population of adults older than 60 expected to double to 1.2 billion by 2025, the number of older adults will exceed the number of children for the first time in history. Despite the growing magnitude of elder abuse, it has been an underappreciated public health problem. On April 17-18, 2013, the IOM Forum on Global Violence Prevention held a workshop on elder abuse and its prevention to shed light on this underappreciated and often overlooked form of violence. Participants in the workshop discussed the prevalence and characteristics of elder abuse around the world, risk factors for abuse and potential adverse health outcomes, and contextually specific factors, such as culture and the role of the community. Presentations also included intervention models and opportunities for prevention across sectors and settings. This document summarizes the workshop.