“Elder abuse can be defined as a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person.’”
Elder abuse comes in a variety of both intentional and unintentional forms related to neglect and systematic abuse or abuse around financial, physical, psychological, and sexual care.
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) estimates that 1 in 10 older people suffer from some type of abuse every year. Yet the signs of elder abuse often go unreported and abusers go unpunished.
Abuse is not limited to those living in elder care homes or communities, but rather many times abuse is propagated by relatives or friends of the older person.
Elder abuse may become apparent in multiple different ways and the most common difference is a change in the behavior of a loved one including their mental, physical, or financial attitudes.
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There is no one specific way to recognize this but some signs may include:
While elder abuse can happen to any older adult, certain factors put some older adults at higher risk than others. Usually, those most at risk are over the age of 80 and female according to research by Northwestern University and WHO. Those who are isolated, in poor health, or cared for by a live-in caregiver who depends on them financially may also have a greater risk for abuse.
Education is critical to preventing elder abuse. Older adults, family, friends, professionals, caregivers, and the public need to know the signs and what to do.
Never ignore signs of elder abuse. Your parents, grandparents, and other elderly relatives do not deserve to suffer. If you suspect your loved one is in danger, report it. Call 911 immediately to address any urgent concerns.
Another way to report suspected abuse is to connect with your local Adult Protective Services agency. To find the reporting number for your state, call the Eldercare Locator.
800-677-1116 (toll-free) firstname.lastname@example.org https://eldercare.acl.gov
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau - Office for Older Americans
855-411-2372 (toll-free) email@example.com www.consumerfinance.gov/practitioner-resources/resources-for-older-adults
National Adult Protective Services Association
National Center on Elder Abuse
855-500-3537 (toll-free) firstname.lastname@example.org https://ncea.acl.gov
National Domestic Violence Hotline
800-799-7233 (toll-free, 24/7) 800-787-3224 (TTY/toll-free) www.thehotline.org/get-help
National Elder Fraud Hotline
833-FRAUD-11 or 833-372-8311 https://stopelderfraud.ovc.ojp.gov
U.S. Department of Justice
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