A new global review reveals that at 14 percent, elder abuse in India is the lowest in Asia.
The highest prevalence – 36 percent – was found in China.
Elder abuse includes psychological, physical and sexual abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.
The study reveals that elder abuse is common among community-dwelling older adults and is especially prevalent among minority older adults.
Older adults with cognitive and physical impairments or psychosocial distress are also at increased risk of elder abuse.
In North and South American epidemiological studies, the prevalence of elder abuse ranged from about 10 percent among cognitively intact older adults to 47 percent in older adults with dementia.
In Europe, the prevalence varied from 2 percent in Ireland to 61 percent in Croatia.
In Africa, the prevalence ranged between 30 percent and 44 percent.
“The epidemics of elder abuse and our societal inability to sufficiently protect the most vulnerable population are only compounded by their increased risks for premature death, psychosocial distress, use of emergency departments, hospitalization and nursing home placement,” said XinQi Dong, lead author of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society review where the study appeared.
Health professionals should consider integrating routine screening of elder abuse in clinical practice, especially among high-risk populations.
Specific guidance is provided in the review for health care professionals to manage potential elder abuse cases.
“Systematic, coordinated and targeted research, education, advocacy and policy efforts are needed to protect, prevent and serve our golden population in diverse communities.”