Recent studies reveal the growing trend of increasing Domestic Violence among elders.  As people continue to age so too does the challenge of domestic violence that is often thought to be a problem that only occurs during early and mid-life relationships.  Many who work in caring for and serving senior citizens are aware of the risks of abuse by an elders’ children, neighbors or caregivers but as seniors age and live longer and longer, abuse by spouses and partners is a growing trend. This abuse may be perpetrated in long-time relationships that have endured years of abuse or in new relationships when the abuse takes advantage of one of the partners, typically the most vulnerable – elderly women.

As in domestic violence of younger people, alcohol or drugs may be a factor.  At times it is related to caregiver stress and frustration. In some situations it is a response to the many changes and losses associated with growing older: multiple losses, change of long-time life role, decreasing mobility as well as changes in health and cognitive function.  Other times the violence is simply an ongoing expression of anger, power and control.

How to Identify Potential Domestic Violence in Elders:

  • Physical symptoms including injury, bruises and pain
  • Unexplained injuries that may grow in frequency and/or severity
  • Isolation and withdrawal of the victim
  • Inability of one partner to be in public or with others independently, without accompaniment or supervision of the abuser

How Matrix Can Help

  • Provide a comprehensive assessment including a vulnerability assessment
  • Identify vulnerability risk factors
  • Have regular contact as an advocate for the senior
  • Identify symptoms of elder domestic abuse
  • Identify and attain resources and services for the abuser and the victim
  • Aid in getting the victim into a safe situation with care and support

For more information please call Matrix AdvoCare Network at 952-525-0505.