Abuses against elderly dropped in 2012: survey

JIJI, Kyodo

Abusive behavior targeting elderly people declined for the second year in a row in fiscal 2012, a government survey says.

In the reporting year, the number of cases involving people 65 or older fell 8.3 percent from the previous year to 15,357, the survey, released Thursday by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, said.

However, the number of deaths caused by such abuse rose to 27 from 21.

The decline of 1,393 cases from fiscal 2011 marked the first annual drop since the survey began in 2007 and “reflects local government efforts to take thorough preventive measures,” a ministry official said.

But whether the decline in abuses will continue needs to be closely monitored, the official said.

In abuses waged by fellow family members, sons accounted for the most cases at 41.6 percent, followed by husbands at 18.3 percent. Abuses committed by daughters accounted for 16.1 percent of all cases, while daughters-in-law accounted for 5.9 percent.

Physical abuse was seen in 65 percent of all cases, followed by psychological abuse, including verbal attacks, at 40.4 percent, economic abuse, such as withholding money, at 23.5 percent, and abandoning nursing care, at 23.4 percent.

At care facilities, the number of abuse cases rose by four to 155. Of those, three took place at the same facilities where cases had previously been detected, the survey found. A ministry official said abuse at care facilities stems mostly from lack of expertise and knowledge on the part of care workers.