Elder Abuse:

Recognize the Signs. Respect their Dignity. Respond with Care.

What is Elder Abuse?

  • Elder abuse is any form of mistreatment that results in harm or loss to an older person.

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?

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


  • Although estimates vary, it is generally believed that 4-6% of the elderly are abused. According to the National Incidence Study on Elder Abuse, approximately 450,000 elderly experienced abuse in 1996 nationwide. If self-neglect is included, the number is 551,000
  • Perpetrators are often family members and people known to the elder
  • Only 1 in 5 victims are identified
  • 2-10% of the older American population may be victims
  • Abused elders are four times more likely to die prematurely
  • Check out this Elder Abuse Factsheet for more information


For additional information and resources, please email or call LEVI at (303) 774-4534.