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Abuse of seniors under-reported, says study

Dec. 8, 2003 -- Because state laws vary, reporting of instances of "elder abuse" vary widely, says a new study from University of Iowa researchers.

According to the article, published in the Dec. 2003 issue of the American Journal of Public Health, there were

  • 190,005 domestic elder abuse reports from 17 states, a rate of 8.6 per 1000 elders;
  • 242,430 domestic elder abuse investigations from 47 states, a rate of 5.9; and
  • 102,879 substantiations from 35 states, a rate of 2.7.

"Significantly higher investigation rates were found for states requiring mandatory reporting and tracking of numbers of reports," say the researchers.

The study examines abuse that occurs in private residences, not nursing homes, the study's author, lead investigator Dr. Gerald Jogerst told reporters. The Iowa research, he said, follows a 1996 report that found only one in five cases of elder abuse is reported and substantiated.

Abuse of individuals from those providing personal assistance is an ongoing concern to the disability rights movement. Abuse is chronically under-reported both for seniors and for non-elderly disabled people.

More about this study can be found online at the website of the American Journal of Public Health.

Read an Associated Press story from FindLaw.





The following sites contain information that may be of interest. Please bear in mind that the information at these sites is not controlled by the Center for An Accessible society. Links to these sites do not imply that the Center supports either the organizations or the views presented.
Consumer Choice and Control:
Personal Attendant Services and Supports in
Report of the National Blue Ribbon Panel on
Personal Assistance Services, August, 1999

Directory of Publicly Funded Personal Assistance Programs from the World Institute on Disability

"Understanding Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services: A Primer" -- from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, available at

Information on Home & Community-Based, Consumer-Directed, and Personal Assistance Services from the Office of Disability, Aging and Long-Term Care Policy at the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services


How States' "Nurse Practice" Acts work against consumer direction -- from the January, 1999 Ragged Edge magazine






Expert sources

Nursing home data

The Institutional Bias of Public Policy

Consumer Direction in Personal Assistance

Study Validates Consumer Control's Superiority

In-Home Services and Safety

In-home services: Implementing the Olmstead decision

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