Elder Abuse: Global Situation, Risk Factors, and Prevention Strategies

Gerontologist. 2016 Apr;56 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):S194-205. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnw004.


Purpose: Elder mistreatment is now recognized internationally as a pervasive and growing problem, urgently requiring the attention of health care systems, social welfare agencies, policymakers, and the general public. In this article, we provide an overview of global issues in the field of elder abuse, with a focus on prevention.

Design and methods: This article provides a scoping review of key issues in the field from an international perspective.

Results: By drawing primarily on population-based studies, this scoping review provided a more valid and reliable synthesis of current knowledge about prevalence and risk factors than has been available. Despite the lack of scientifically rigorous intervention research on elder abuse, the review also identified 5 promising strategies for prevention.

Implications: The findings highlight a growing consensus across studies regarding the extent and causes of elder mistreatment, as well as the urgent need for efforts to make elder mistreatment prevention programs more effective and evidence based.

Keywords: Elder abuse; Epidemiology; Prevention; Risk factor models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Elder Abuse / prevention & control*
  • Elder Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Global Health
  • Guidelines as Topic*
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors