According to the National Council on Aging, 10% of Americans aged 60 and up have experienced some form of abuse. The actual percentage is likely wildly higher: it is estimated that only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse are reported, impacting as many as five million seniors a year. When thinking of elder abuse most people think of abuse in an assisted living facility; however, many unreported cases of elder abuse happen at the hands of a family member or, most commonly, a spouse.
Older women have unique vulnerabilities that include physical limitations and generational values, such as believing that divorce is not an option. Jan Langbein, CEO of Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support, said, “We know that in order to end this epidemic, it will take all of us coming together to do our part. Don’t assume all older adults are frail or mentally incompetent. By educating ourselves and understanding the unique challenges associated with elder abuse, we can be her first step away from domestic violence.”