Elder mistreatment

Daniel L. Swagerty, Paul Y. Takahashi, Jonathan M. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Elder mistreatment is a widespread problem in our society that is often under-recognized by physicians. As a result of growing public outcry over the past 20 years, all states now have abuse laws that are specific to older adults; most states have mandated reporting by all health care professionals. The term 'mistreatment' includes physical abuse and neglect, psychologic abuse, financial exploitation and violation of rights. Poor health, physical or cognitive impairment, alcohol abuse and a history of domestic violence are some of the risk factors for elder mistreatment. Diagnosis of elder mistreatment depends on acquiring a detailed history from the patient and the caregiver. It also involves performing a comprehensive physical examination. Only through awareness, a healthy suspicion and the performing of certain procedures are physicians able to detect elder mistreatment. Once it is suspected, elder mistreatment should be reported to adult protective services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2804-2808
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican family physician
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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