6 Common Myths About Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is a severe offense and can be challenging to understand fully. These six myths debunk common misconceptions associated with elder abuse.

Myth 1. Elder Abuse Only Happens In Nursing Homes

FACT: While some nursing homes are known to have several cases of elder abuse, most cases happen in the homes of family members. Financial abuse can consist of stealing, money, or selling of the elderly person’s personal belongings for drugs or gambling. Once the older adult becomes aware of the situation and confronts the perpetrator, it can result in the start of physical abuse.

Myth 2.  If An Older Adult Is Experiencing Physical Abuse, It Will Be Obvious

FACT: Physical Abuse can be invisible. If an older adult’s arm was twisted, it might not leave a mark. While some bruises are a sign of age-related issues, like falls, it can indicate abuse. Also, if an older adult experiences weight loss suddenly, it can be a sign that they are not getting proper nutrition or food.

Myth 3. Educated People Don’t Get Scammed

FACT: Smart people are not immune to con artists’ tricks and scams. Older adults of all levels of education can fall prey to crafty, sneaky scammers. Common fraud includes bogus phone calls and emails claiming the older adult owes money to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and if they don’t pay, they will get arrested. Also, the scammer may claim to be their niece or nephew who needs money fast to get out of jail overseas. These scams work on educated people regardless if you are old or not because these scams play with an individual’s emotions and fears.

Myth 4. If An Elder Person Doesn’t Report Abuse, Then It Didn’t Happen.

FACT: Many elderly people don’t report abuse, out of fear that they will get their loved ones in trouble. Also, the abuser may be threatening to move them to a nursing home or harm them if they say anything.

Myth 5. Elder abuse Isn’t A Big Issue

FACT: According to the 2010 National Elder Mistreatment Study, one in 10 older adults in the U.S. are abused. Elder abuse is a very serious issue and can have damaging effects on the victims, which can include death, institutionalization, hospital admission, and increase the risk of disease.

Myth 6. Caregivers Abuse Because They Are Stressed

FACT: The stress a caregiver experiences while caring for their loved one, is significant. But that isn’t an excuse to commit elder abuse. Also, a good majority of caregivers do not abuse their family members.

Elder abuse is a very serious issue, and sadly, there are fewer resources devoted to protecting, prosecuting, and preventing older people from experiencing harm.