Types Of Elder Abuse

And How To Prevent It

Spot The Warning Signs

5 Types Of Elder Abuse

  1. 1.Neglect or Abandonment of an Elder is the refusal or failure by those responsible to provide for the needs of an Elder in their care. This includes denial food, shelter, health care, or protection for a vulnerable elder or desertion of them. 

  1. 2.      Physical Abuse of an Elder is inflicting, or threatening to inflict, physical pain or injury on a vulnerable elder, or depriving them of a basic need.  It can involve such physical actions as hitting, shaking. pushing, beating or restraining.  It can also involve withholding accommodations that are needed for normal activities of daily living. 

  1. 3.Emotional or Psychological Abuse of an Elder is an action or threat that results in mental or emotional anguish or distress on an older person through verbal or nonverbal acts. It can include yelling, name calling, threats, infantilization of the older person or prolonged silence or ignoring of the older person.

  1. 4.Financial Abuse or Exploitation of an Elder is the illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a vulnerable elder.

  1. 5.Elder Self-Neglect is characterized as the behavior of an elderly person that threatens his/her own health or safety.Signs of Neglect/Self Neglect: Mental confusion, poor hygiene, poor environment, inadequate health care, inability to perform activities of daily living. 

  1. 6.Sexual Abuse of an Elder is the assault or any form of non-consensual sexual contact of any kind.

Neglect is the most common form of elder abuse in America.

Fact: Most Elder Abuse Happens At Home

Of the known cases of elderly abuse and neglect

  1.   89% of the abuse happened in private homes

  2.   In more than 50% of elder abuse cases, children or other relatives

       are the abusers.

An abuser can be a woman or man, young or old, a family member, a relative, caregiver or any person in a position of trust, authority or responsibility for the elder person.

Other Warning Signs Of Possible Elder Abuse

Along with the more obvious visual or physical signs of abuse (bruises, injuries, numerous “accidents,” shrinking away from quick movements or physical contact, etc.), there are other signs that may indicate some sort of abuse may be taking place.

  1.   The Elder person gives or reassigns Power of Attorney to someone new, makes changes to their will or transfers property to someone when the Elder is incapable of making such a decision.

  1.      The Elder person is placed in a nursing home or residential care facility that does not meet his or her specific needs or does not correspond to their ability to pay or the size of their estate.

  1.       Personal belongings like art, silverware begin to disappear from the Elder person’s home or estate.

  1.    Family, ‘new friends’ or caregivers take steps to deliberately isolate the older adult in order to have total control over the person.

  1.   The Elder person makes sudden, significant or unexpected changes to his or her bank accounts and other financial accounts. Examples might be numerous of large sums of cash from ATMs when the person is housebound or credit card charges for products or services the Senior would not want, need or use. 

  1.     The Elder person makes unexpected unusual changes in their Real Estate Deeds, property holding or other Financial Documents - including but not limited to their will and bequests.

  1.    Unknown or previously uninvolved family or distant relatives appear and insist on taking over responsibility of an Elder person’s care, financial affairs and possessions.

  1.     Strangers suddenly appear and befriend the Elder person, then offer to help care for the Elder’s needs, manage their household, their bills and finances.

It is a violation of State and Federal law for any person, including facility staff, volunteers, visitors, family members or guardians, or another resident, to neglect or abuse a resident a home of any kind of care facility. 

Many older persons are not able to, afraid to or ashamed to tell someone they are being abused.  They may fear that the abuse will intensify if they “tell;” they may think that no one will believe them; they may not want to tell because the abuser is a family member and they don’t want to get him or her into trouble; they may not remember the abuse because of a medical condition, diminished mental capacity or because they have been subdued or over-medicated.

Hundreds of thousands - even millions - of cases of elder abuse go unreported because people ignore or are unaware of the signs of abuse.  Many people just can’t imagine that elder abuse could happen to someone in their neighborhood, much less someone their they know or love. 

12 Common Signs Of Elder Abuse Or Neglect

  1. 1. The Elder person and the caretaker appear to have a distant, or hostile relationship, one where the Elder is fearful of the caretaker, or one where the Caretaker has a pattern of ignoring, getting impatient or angry by the Elder’s requests.

  2. 2. The Elder appears undernourished or dehydrated.

  3. 3. There are signs of new and/or old burises, burns, welts, scratches or fractures; there are signs of injuries that have not been cared for properly

  4. 4. Personal possessions (cash, credit cards, jewelry, art, furnishings, etc.) are missing; property or savings are mismanaged, transferred or stolen.

  5. 5. The Elder person is dressed inadequately or doesn’t have basic personal items even though there appears to enough money to provide for them.

  6. 6. The caretaker doesn’t allow you to see or talk with the elder person alone; or the caretaker is overly attentive or talks all the time about how much he or she loves the Elder.

  7. 7. There are signs that the Elder has been isolated, confined or restrained unnecessarily or for long periods of time.

  8. 8. The abuser answers for the Elder person, directs the conversation or prompts the Elder’s responses.

  9. 9. There are changes in the behavior of the elder (becoming unusually withdrawn, anxious, depressed, fearful, hesitant, silent or uncommunicative; uninterested in activities that previously interested them, shows a lack of emotion or general negative mood changes).

  10. 10. The Elder person seems excessively nervous; or does not want to talk in front of their caregiver; or continuously looks to the caregiver as if for assurance or approval.

  11. 11. The elder person appears more and more lethargic, drowsy or inexplicable incoherent; or the caregiver seems to be giving the elder more than the prescribed amount of medication.

  12. 12. The Elder person suddenly becomes unavailable to relatives and friends; he or she suddenly becomes house bound; or the caregiver informs family, friends and neighbors that the Elder person can no longer go to church services or out in public without being accompanied by the caregiver.

• Click here for the National Center on Elder Abuse's link to state elder abuse hotlines.

• The National Clearninghouse on Abuse in Later Life has useful resources for preventing elder abuse.

• The Foundation Aiding The Elderly serves as a voice for patients and to bring about national reforms.

• The Administration on Aging website is designed to provide a comprehensive overview of a wide variety of topics, programs and services related to aging.

• You can locate elder care facilities throught the Eldercare Locator, a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging.

• Click here for more information about National Citizens' Commission for Nursing Home Reform. 

AsYouAge Resources For Elder Abuse

AsYouAge resources related to elder abuse prevention & protection

Don’t Ignore Elder Abuse.  If you suspect a Senior is being abused, report it.

Most Elder abuse happens at home, but it happens in care facilities, too.

Many Seniors are afraid or ashamed to tell someone they are being abused.

AsYouAge Suggests 6 Things To Do

If You Suspect Elder Abuse

  1. 1. Know what to look for and what the warning signs of elder abuse are: physical symptoms like bruises, withdrawn behavior and unaccounted financial changes.

  1. 2. Don’t confront the abuser. They may flee, leaving the elder person without any kind of care or worse yet, retaliate or escalate the abuse of the Senior.

  1. 3. Follow your instincts – if you sense something is not right, you are probably right. 

  1. 4. If you have evidence or strong suspicions of abuse, report it to authorities right away. If you suspect the Elder is in imminent danger, call 911 and report it to the police.

  1. 5. If there is no imminent danger, contact local Welfare, Social Services and Adult Protective Agencies. When you talk with with authorities, don’t be  shy.  Be insistent and continue to press them until they take action.

  1. 6. If the abuse happens at an institution like a nursing home, contact your state’s long-term care ombudsman. 


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As You Age

Types Of Elder Abuse & How To Spot The Signs

Abuse committed by members of an older person’s own family is one of the fastest growing areas of domestic crime in America.

An estimated 1.5 million Seniors suffer neglect, physical and emotional mistreatment, identity theft and other forms of financial exploitation at the hands of their own family members.

Every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, most especially our elderly family members, Senior citizens and those who cannot speak or care for themselves.

Elder abuse also takes place in

nursing homes and other care

facilities. The most common

types of nursing home abuse


Falls, fractures,  broken bones

•Dehydration and malnutrition

  1. Misdiagnosis or failure to

  2.     diagnose or treat illness

  3. Bedsores, restraint injuries

  4.     and strangulation

  5. Wandering and/or walking

  6.     away from the facility

•Abuse and assault

•Wrongful death

•Medication errors

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