What is Elder Abuse?

  • A large problem—2-10% of the older American population may be victims
  • A growing problem – with the aging of the Baby Boomer population
  • A hidden problem—Only 1 in 5 victims are identified
  • A family problem—Perpetrators are often family members and people known to the elder
  • A serious problem—Abused elders are four times more likely to die prematurely

Types of Elder Abuse?

  • Physical—This occurs when an elder is injured as a result of hitting, kicking, pushing, slapping, burning, or other show of force.
  • Emotional– This refers to behaviors that harm an elder’s self-worth or emotional well being. Examples include name calling, scaring, embarrassing, destroying property, or isolation.
  • Financial— Illegally using an elder’s money, property or assets. It is estimated that due to financial abuse, seniors are robbed of $2.6 Billion/year.
  • Sexual—Forcing sexual contact or sexual behaviors (pornography,etc) against the elder’s will.
  • Neglect—Ignoring an elder’s physical, medical or basic needs. This includes abandonment.

Red Flags of Abuse

  • Unexplained or frequent injuries
  • Speaks of being afraid or “walking on eggshells”
  • Makes comments like “my son has a temper,” or “my husband makes me do things I don’t want to do”
  • Is isolated
  • Is living in unsafe, unsanitary, or hazardous conditions
  • Has sudden unexplained changes in lifestyle or behavior
  • Makes unusual financial transactions

How Can I Help?

  • Recognize the Signs (see warning signs above)
  • Respect their Dignity
    • Believe them
    • Tell them it is not their fault
    • Tell them that abuse at any age is not okay
  • Respond by contacting local or National resources

 Other Ways to Help

  • Show Up– Maintain frequent, random contact with elders.  Preventing isolation is the key to prevention.
  • Spread the Word— Share/post campaign materials at your workplace, place of worship, or other community location you frequent.

Check out this Elder Abuse Factsheet for more information