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530 S. Lawrence Street | Montgomery, AL  36104
Phone 334.262.7378

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Elder Abuse - What are the effects?

Elder Abuse has multitude of negative impacts on both the micro and macro levels including physical, psychological, financial, social, hospitalizations & disability, medical, and others.


·         The most commonly documented physical impacts of elder abuse include: welts, wounds, and injuries (bruises, lacerations, dental problems, head injuries, broken bones, pressure sores); persistent physical pain and soreness; nutrition and hydration issues; sleep disturbances; increased susceptibility to new illnesses (including sexually transmitted diseases); exacerbation of pre-existing health conditions; and increased risks for premature death.

·         Elders who experienced abuse, even modest abuse, had a 300% higher risk of death when compared to those who had not been abused.


·         Established psychological impacts include levels of psychological distress, emotional symptoms, and depression higher than those observed among elders who have not experienced these exposures.

·         One study of older women found that verbal abuse only leads to greater declines in mental health than physical abuse only.


·         Financial exploitation causes large economic losses for businesses, families, elders, and government programs, and increases reliance on federal health care programs such as Medicaid.

·         Research indicates that those with cognitive incapacities suffer 100% greater economic losses than those without such incapacities.

·         Financial abuse by itself costs older Americans over $2.6 billion dollars annually.


Social consequences may vary from increased social isolation (due to self-withdrawal or perpetrator imposition) to decreased social resources (social identities, supports, roles in key networks) and increased expenditures on services to compensate for resources lost through exploitation and to identify and rehabilitate elder abuse victims.

Hospitalizations & Disability

·         Victims of elder abuse are three times more likely to be admitted to a hospital.

·         Elder abuse is predictive of later disability among persons who initially displayed no disability and is associated with increased rates of emergency department utilization, increased risks for hospitalization, and increased risk for mortality.

Medical Costs

·         The direct medical costs of injuries are estimated to contribute more than $5.3 billion to the nation’s annual health expenditures.

·         Most adverse events in nursing homes—due largely to inadequate treatment, care and understaffing—lead to preventable harm and $2.8 billion per year in Medicare hospital costs alone (excluding additional—and substantial—Medicaid costs caused by the same events).

Other Impact

·         Other societal costs may include expenses associated with the prosecution, punishment, and rehabilitation of elder abuse perpetrators. Estimates of such expenses are not currently available.

·         Elder abuse causes victims to be more dependent on caregivers. Providing care, caregivers experience declines in their own physical and mental health and their financial security suffers.

If you need help

Visit ONE PLACE Family Justice Center at 530 S. Lawrence Street, Montgomery, Alabama or call 334.262.7378 or if in immediate danger Call 911.


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