WHO: Abuse of older people on the rise


GENEVA: Around 1 in 6 older people experience some form of abuse, a figure higher than previously estimated and predicted to rise as populations age worldwide.

A new study, supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and published in the Lancet Global Health, has found that almost 16 percent of people aged 60 years and older were subjected to either psychological abuse (11.6 percent), financial abuse (6.8 percent), neglect (4.2 percent), physical abuse (2.6 percent) or sexual abuse (0.9 percent). The research draws on the best available evidence from 52 studies in 28 countries from different regions, including 12 low- and middle-income countries.

“The abuse of older people is on the rise; for the 141 million older people worldwide this has serious individual and societal costs,” said Alana Officer, Senior Health Adviser, Department of Ageing and Life Course at WHO. “We must do much more to prevent and respond to the increasing frequency of different forms of abuse.”

Awareness about elder abuse, still largely a taboo topic, has started to increase across the world. It is defined as actions or lack of appropriate action which can cause harm or distress to an older person.


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