Main Organiser

Julius Centre University of Malaya


Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malay

Supported by

University of Malaya



Sooryanarayana R, Choo WY, Hairi NN


Julius Centre University of Malaya, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya


Objectives: Aging is a rising phenomenon globally and elder abuse is becoming increasingly recognized as a health and social problem. This review aimed to identify the prevalence estimate of elder abuse in community settings, discuss issues regarding measurement tools and strategies employed in measuring elderly abuse by systematically reviewing all community based studies conducted worldwide.

Methods: Articles on elder abuse, from 1990 to 2011 are reviewed. 1832 articles referring to elders residing at home either in their own or relatives houses are searched via CINAHL and MEDLINE electronic databases besides a hand search of latest articles in geriatric textbooks and screening references to obtain a final 27 articles chosen for review.

Results: Highest prevalence are reported in developed countries, with Spain having 44.6% overall prevalence of suspicion of abuse. Developing countries report lower estimates of 13.3% to 28.63%. Physical abuse is among the least encountered, with psychological abuse and financial exploitation the most common types of maltreatment reported. To date there is no single gold standard test to ascertain abuse, with numerous tools and different methods employed in various studies on elder abuse, coupled with varying definition of thresholds for age.

Conclusion: Current evidence shows that elder abuse is a common problem in both developed and developing countries. It is important that social, health care and legal systems take these findings into consideration in screening for abuse or reforming existing services to protect the health and welfare of the elderly.