New data suggests two million elderly Americans are being abused every year. (File photo)
Up to two million elderly Americans are being abused every year, in most cases by a relative, not only physically but also by not receiving basic requirements such as sufficient food and medication.
There is no exact figure of how many Americans over the age of 65 are being abused every year since the majority of cases are not reported due to embarrassment, or fear of being alienated by the family, but overall estimates put the figure at around 2 million a year.
Some research suggests that one in 10 elderly Americans have suffered neglect in some manner.
Experts say the problem is to escalate since the elderly population is expected to nearly double by the year 2030.
Abuse is commonly reported anonymously to adult protective service caseworkers by someone who is acquainted with the abused elderly Americans.
Authorities provide the help of shelters, which are increasing in number across the country, and where abused seniors can receive 60- to 90-day emergency stays, while caseworkers seek a new caregiver or relative who can provide adequate care.
However, according to research for the National Institute of Justice, prosecutors have often been unwilling to pursue the abuse cases of seniors since they are often complex due to medical and financial complications.
A campaign is to be launched later this year to raise public awareness and train authorities such as police and justice officials and others to recognize and report signs of abuse against senior citizens.