Last Updated: May 6, 2015
As seniors age and become more dependent on others for care,
they also become more vulnerable to abuse, neglect and
exploitation. Most people find the thought of harming a vulnerable
elderly person abhorrent, but that doesn't mean the possibility can
be ignored. Elder abuse can occur when you least suspect it. In
fact, according to the National
Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), "most cases of elder abuse are
perpetrated by known and trusted others, particularly family
members." Elder abuse can also occur in institutional settings,
including nursing homes and assisted living communities.
Types of Elder Abuse
Elder advocates have outlined the following types of elder
- Emotional Abuse
- Financial Exploitation
- Physical Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
Unfortunately, different types of elder mistreatment often occur
concurrently. For example, a senior who is being neglected may also
be exploited financially.
Common Signs of Elder Abuse
Here are some of the most common signs of elder abuse. These
signs don't automatically show that abuse is occurring, but are
clues that you should look further into your loved one's
- Bruises, cuts, abrasions, burns and other physical signs of
- Sudden social withdrawal, confusion or depression
- Witnessing a family member or caregiver verbally belittling or
yelling at the senior
- Senior's finances suddenly change for the worse
- Bedsores, poor hygiene and weight loss
There are often other explanations for these indications, but
any changes in your loved one's personality, behavior, or physical
condition should be investigated thoroughly.
What if You Suspect Elder Abuse?
If you believe a senior may be in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
Otherwise, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/hours a
day/7 days a week: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or 1-800-727-3224