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.
Elder advocates have outlined the following types of elder abuse:
Unfortunately, different types of elder mistreatment often occur concurrently. For example, a senior who is being neglected may also be exploited financially.
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 well-being:
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.
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 (TTY)
Update: January 2018