A government survey has found that about 10 percent of abused elderly people in Japan have been in a life-threatening situation while being abused.

Officials of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said Tuesday the survey found that the average age of abused elderly people was 81.6. Women accounted for 76 percent of the cases, they said.

The results showed that sons were the perpetrators of the abuse in 32 percent of the cases. Daughters-in-law and spouses were each responsible in 20 percent of the cases.

About 64 percent of the cases involved mental abuse, including yelling or willful neglect, 52 percent involved denying meals or other forms of care, and 50 percent involved beating people or tying them to beds.

When the abuse escalated, 11 percent of the elderly people were in a state of danger that could have threatened their lives.

The survey, the first conducted nationwide on the abuse of elderly people, covered 1,991 abused elderly people who had been reported by licensed care managers, including doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals.