12 Warning Signs

Of Intentional Elder Abuse

If you suspect someone is intentionally abusing an older person look for one or more of these warning signs or behaviors

AsYouAge Resources About Elder Abuse

  1. If you have evidence or strong suspicions of Elder abuse, report it to your local authorities right away.

  1. If you suspect the Elder person is in immediate danger, call 911 and report it to the police.

  1. If there is no immediate danger, contact local Welfare, Social Services and Adult Protective Agencies. 

  1. To report abuse in a long-term care facility (like a nursing    

        home, skilled nursing facility or memory care facility) call    

        the local Long-Term Care Ombudsman or the local police. 


1. The older person is not allowed to speak for him/her self or see others without the suspected abuser being present.

2. The suspected abuser shows anger or hostility toward the older person; or the suspected abuser is indifferent or deliberately ignores the Elder’s need or requests for assistance.

4.   The  suspected abuser may display aggressive behavior (threats, insults, harassment) toward the older person.  Aggressive behavior can also include deliberately crowding or standing over the older person, using their size to intimidate them or ‘getting in their face.’

5.  The suspected abuser has a history of violence or abuse of others.

6.  The suspected abuser may take the opposite track and display inappropriate affection toward the older person, or hover and fawn all over him or her when others are present.

7.  The suspected abuser may display flirtatious or provocative behavior toward the Elder that could indicate possible inappropriate sexual conduct or sexual abuse of the older person.

3.  The suspected abuser blames the older person when something happens (i.e. the Elder deliberately dropped the glass of water, deliberately dripped coffee on their shirt, deliberately soiled their pants, etc.). 

8.  The suspected abuser may socially isolate the Elder from family or friends, or severely restrict and control the social activity of the Elder.

9.   The suspected abuser(s) may give conflicting accounts about events or accidents concerning the Elder to family members, friends or medical or health professionals.

10.  The suspected abuser may leave the older person unattended - or even leave the house - for extended periods of time, totally ignoring the needs of the Elder in their care.

11.  The suspected abuser may become unusually defensive when discussing the caregiving services or assistance they give to the Elder.

12.  There may be indications of unusual confinement in the home (like locks on the outside of the Elder person’s bedroom door to keep him in his room; or she is tied or belted to furniture; or her wheelchair or walker is taken away so she can’t walk anywhere.)

American Academy of Family Physicians  (AAFP)
Phone: 1-800-274-2237
Web Address: http://www.aafp.org

National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)
Phone: 1-202-898-2586
Web Address: http://www.elderabusecenter.org

It is a violation of State and Federal law for any person, including family members, guardians, caregivers, facility staff, volunteers, other residents and visitors to neglect or abuse an elder person.

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12 Warning Signs Of Intentional Elder Abuse

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