While all seniors are at risk of being a victim of elder abuse, recent reports show that women make up an estimated 65% or more of elder abuse victims. This abuse can happen in many forms, including physical, emotional, sexual, financial or verbal abuse targeting someone over the age of 65. Patients in care centers are at risk, but it’s also possible for elder abuse to happen in a private home.
Why Are Women More Vulnerable?
Why would a gender difference impact the risk of elder abuse? One potential factor is that women have a longer lifespan than men, so there are more senior women than men. As a person gets older, the risk of elder abuse goes up. As a result, there is a larger report of abused elderly women than men.
The longer lifespan also increases the likelihood of a woman living longer than her spouse. The risk of being a victim of elder abuse is higher in seniors who are living without a spouse.
There is also a higher percentage of women living as residents in nursing homes. For example, the U.S. Department of Health reports that 66.8% of nursing home residents were female.
But these factors don’t explain everything about the difference between elder abuse targeting men vs. women. One possibility is that women are often seen as being more vulnerable and weaker than men in our culture.
All Women Are at Risk for Sexual Abuse
One of the most common misconceptions about sexual abuse is that only young women are victims of this type of abuse. But older women can also be victims of sexual abuse. Unfortunately, older women are less likely to report cases of abuse.
When these cases go unreported, the perpetrator can continue abusing the original victim and other people. Additionally, the victims don’t receive proper medical and emotional care as part of their recovery.
Helping to Prevent Elder Abuse
If you have an elderly loved one, it’s important to take a proactive approach to preventing elder abuse – regardless of the person’s gender or age. Our team at Senior Safe and Sound is here to provide families with the education they need to learn more about preventing elder abuse at home and in care communities. If you need more support and information, we invite you to contact us at info@SeniorSafeAndSound.org or call 858-480-7551.
This information is intended to inform the public at large about this important issue. It is not intended to serve as legal or medical advice.