"Many elderly people rely entirely on family or other trusted individuals to help them. Whether it is for physical or emotional needs, as people grow older they tend to need more and more help from others. This dependence on caregivers or family members makes an older person more vulnerable to abuse.
For example, an older person relying on her children to provide meals, transportation and help her with financial decisions finds it difficult to complain when one of her children takes advantage of her. If, for instance, the child takes her money, hits her or neglects her care, the parent may be threatened with loss of support from the child if the parent complains. The child may also use threats of violence to keep the parent in line.
It is estimated that 5 to 10% of elderly Americans are suffering abuse. According to the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, more than 750,000 persons aged 60+ were victims of domestic abuse and that an estimated 84% of incidents are not reported to authorities, denying victims the protection and support they need. Much attention has been focused on abuse in nursing homes but most of the elder abuse in this country is at the hands of family members or other caregivers in the home.
What about the unreported cases? It is suspected that 9 out of every 10 actual cases of elder abuse and/or exploitation go unreported. The majority of the victims were females between the ages of 60-89 and 60% of the perpetrators were family members/relatives..."