AMAC In The Media / Commentary / Coronavirus / Elder Abuse and Fraud / Opinion / Politics / Press Releases / Safety & Health

COVID Crisis Triggers Increase in Elder Abuse and Prejudice Aimed at Seniors

elderWASHINGTON, DC, Feb 19 – There’s been a worrisome increase in cases of elder abuse since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, reports the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC].  The senior advocacy organization’s CEO, Rebecca Weber, says the surge is mainly due to self-isolation and other preventative measures that are in place to combat the spread of the virus.”

According to the Website, PubMed.Gov, “Before the COVID-19 pandemic, elder abuse affected one in 10 American older adults annually. It has been assumed that the pandemic has brought with it a surge in elder abuse due to individuals ordered to stay at home combined with increased interpersonal stressors.”

The measures in place to deal with the pandemic can limit in-person visits by caregivers, friends and family, making it difficult for the elderly living on their own to cope with physical and mental needs, leaving them vulnerable to abuse, Weber explains.  “And then there are those unpaid family caregivers who have been left with reduced incomes or no incomes at all as a result of the COVID crisis.  The stress they are under can readily result in abuse.”

Nursing homes get most of the blame for elder abuse.  But in too many cases, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse, the perpetrators are family members.

“Elder abuse is a widespread problem in America where 10,000 men and women celebrate their 65th birthdays each day; and where each year more people live longer than ever before.  It is no longer unusual for us to live to be as old as 80, 90 and 100 years or more these days thanks to healthier lifestyles and the miracle of modern medicine.  But, with age come new vulnerabilities that can make any of us susceptible to the crimes of angry and greedy predators.  And that’s why it is up to younger friends and family who truly care to keep a watchful eye open for anomalies that indicate older loved ones may be victims,” says Weber.

The Website sixtyandme reports that the most common type of abuse experienced by older Americans is neglect and that when senior citizens self-report abuse, statistics show that they are most likely to report financial abuse.  “It is far more socially acceptable, at least in some people’s minds, to report that they have been scammed than to state that somebody sexually abused them.”

Meanwhile, a wave of “downright shameful intimidation” may be in store for the elderly as a result of COVID-19.  The virus appears to have triggered a wave of prejudice directed at our older population, says AMAC’s Weber.  Younger generations appear to be blatantly revealing ageist tendencies on social media with messages referring to the coronavirus with insulting epithets such as “boomer remover” and “coffin dodger.”

According to the medical journal, Psychiatric Times, “A Twitter analysis of 18,128 tweets between March 12 and March 21, 2020, showed that about one‐quarter of all tweets [about 4,500] could be considered ageist, either because they included jokes or ridicule aimed at older adults or because their content downplayed the relevance of COVID‐19 and/or implied their lives were less valuable.”

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter
and Download the AMAC News App

Sign Up Today Download

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter!

Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

The forced isolation, confinement to a room for months would have been classified as elder abuse in pre-covid days. Just because covid is around doesn’t lessen the detrimental effect. It’s “justified” elder abuse.

Don Graves
1 year ago

Legally and socially, there’s a knife edge to walk, with “elder abuse” if you protect & care too much, on one side, and “elder neglect” on the other, if you do so too little.

April "G"
1 year ago

The worst form of elder abuse to date is Jill Biden putting up her mentally declining husband up to running for America’s highest office.

Last edited 1 year ago by April "G"
Sandra Scarborough
1 year ago

It more likely an increase in visibility of elder abuse, rather than an actual increase of abuse.

Sheryl Phebus
1 year ago

I have also experienced first hand with my mom and in-laws the “seemed” lack of care from medical facilities. Trying to get answers is very difficult. It seems like you have to know the “right questions” to ask to get ANY answers from hospitals SINCE COVID. Everyone is very tight lipped. It is very concerning as these are OUR parents! IT IS MORE CONCERNING when only a few or none can see them! We love them and want to know what is wrong and how to get them better, if at all possible! PLEASE NOTE: None had COVID!

Last edited 1 year ago by Sheryl Phebus
1 year ago
Reply to  Sheryl Phebus

The magic word to use when someone refuses to adequately answer your questions regarding relatives in medical care facilities is “LAWSUIT”. You will be pleasantly surprised how quickly you suddenly receive ALL the cooperation and answers you desire from these facilities. You have to stand up for your relatives, because no one else will. So don’t tolerate anyone dodging your legitimate questions.

1 year ago
Reply to  Sheryl Phebus

I’m 70 and last week participated in my first zoom call. I know now that people expecting the elderly to “stay in touch” by zoom is completely ridiculous. I can barely get connected to my mother in the nursing home by phone. She has a cell but the staff seems to be too busy to make sure its charged or near her. This was the most lonely Christmas I’ve ever had.

Tommy Molnar
1 year ago

Denying loved ones the ability to visit dying parents, grandparents, wives and/or husbands is criminal! What is the issue? Outside visitors might pass on the virus to those who are dying? What kind of stupidity is this?

1 year ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

@Tommy … Amen!

1 year ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

My 93 year old mother is in a nursing home. She has been exposed to covid twice, both times by staff. She would have preferred it to have been due to a family member’s visit.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x