Domestic Violence Series: Abuse Among Elderly Couples
You love your parents very much but there has always been some tension in their marriage. You always imagined that someday they would eventually divorce, probably when you finally left the nest. But even though it’s been years since you lived under their roof, they are still together. But you’ve noticed something quite not right. The relationship seems more strained than usual and your father seems to always angry at your mother. And that’s when you begin to see the bruises on your mother’s arms. “I fell down the stairs,” she stammers. Could your father be hitting your mother? Is this a sign of domestic violence?
In the last part of our domestic violence series, we examine domestic violence among elderly couples, known as “late onset domestic violence.” This could happen to elderly couples who always had a strained relationship that grew worse the older the couple aged. According to the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, some of the causes the abuse begins in old age are:
- The couple is now retired
- One partner is disabled
- There is a changing role among the family members
- Sexual changes
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, domestic violence among elderly couples happens more often than you may think. Approximately 4 million older Americans are victims of domestic abuse each year. An estimated 13.5 percent of older adults have in fact suffered some type of emotional abuse since the age of 60. Out of all those cases, only one out of every 24 is reported to the authorities.
There are four major types of elder abuse:
- Emotional abuse — This can be something innocent like embarrassing a partner to something more drastic like controlling the other partner’s life
- Physical abuse — Such as broken bones, abrasions, and bruises
- Sexual abuse — Also known as non-consensual sexual contact or intercourse
- Financial abuse — Such as fraud or misuse of funds
Domestic violence can serious among elderly couples. According to the NCADV, this type of abuse can cause not only physical issues but psychological harm. Domestic abuse can cause depression, fear, shame, guilt, and helplessness. What’s also sad is those who are disabled — NCADV states that 50 percent of older adults suffering from dementia are either mistreated or abused.
If you are you have a loved one that is being abused by an intimate partner, we urge you to take legal action. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone today for a free consultation.