Elder Abuse

Faces of Elder Abuse

The U.S. Department of Justice says 11 percent – 1 in 9 – of Americans older than 60 experienced elder abuse the past year.

In the majority of cases, the abuser is a family member or trusted individual of the person being abused.

The many forms of elder abuse:

  • Financial exploitation: The illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a vulnerable elder person;
  • Neglect and/or abandonment: Desertion or failure to provide food, shelter, health care, or protection for a vulnerable elder person;
  • Physical: Inflicting or threatening to inflict physical pain or injury;
  • Sexual: Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind;
  • Emotional and verbal: Inflicting mental or emotional anguish or distress on an elder person;

Warning signs of elder abuse include:

  • Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities and unusual depression.
  • Sudden changes in financial situations.
  • Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, burns;
  • Unusual weight loss, poor hygiene, bedsores, unattended medical needs;
  • Belittling, threats, and other uses of power and control by a caregiver;
  • Strained or tense relationships between a caregiver and an elderly person.