[year] Stop Elderly Abuse: The Fact And Ways Of Prevention


Each year, thousands upon thousands of elderly men and women fall victim to elderly abuse. Abuse may occur in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or even the elder’s own home. The abuse may be physical, emotional, mental, or sexual. By learning the warning signs and symptoms, and how to protect yourself or your loved ones, you’ll become better prepared in dealing with this type of abuse should it arise.

Defining Elderly Abuse

As people age, particularly those above the age of 75, they become frail and less equipped to stand up against bullying. Their senses become weakened and they’re not able to hear or see as well as they used to. Those who prey on the weak find the elderly easy targets for abuse.

Each year tens of thousands of abuse cases are reported, while an even larger number of cases go unreported. Abuse of the elderly may take place in a variety of forms, such as physical, sexual, emotional, and financial.

Warning Signs and Symptoms of Abuse

Abuse may result in various types, all involving intimidation and a betrayal of trust. The most common warning signs and symptoms of elder abuse include the following:

1. Physical Abuse

Physical abuse against an elderly person is non-accidental use of force that is designed to inflict pain on that individual. Such abuse may include hitting, pushing, or kicking. Even the administration of inappropriate dosages or types of drugs may result in physical abuse. Confinement and restraint are also considered abuse.

2. Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves contact with an elderly person in a sexual nature without the person’s consent. While forced sexual activity is the most common abuse of this type, showing an elderly person pornographic material or forcing the elder to undress is also considered abuse.

3. Mental or Emotional Abuse

Mental or emotional abuse most often involves intimidation through yelling, threatening, or humiliating. Emotional abuse can cause distress among the individual causing them to become nervous and panicky. Nonverbal emotional abuse is recognized as ignoring the elder, isolating the person from friends and family, or terrorizing the elderly individual through scare tactics or menacing.

4. Financial Exploitation

Scam artists and caregivers are among the most common people who prey on the finances of an elderly person. Con-artists find the elderly easy to prey on and often do so in the form of fake charities, fraudulent investments, and prize giveaways in exchange for money. Personal finances may be exploited by caregivers for the elderly. This type of exploitation often involves stealing cash or income checks, forging the elder’s name and cashing checks, misusing credit cards, or stealing the elderly person’s identity.

5. Neglect

Neglecting an elder is a form of abuse that should be reported. According to most aging services by state, neglect is the most common form of abuse against the elderly. Neglect may be intentional or unintentional. In this case, ignorance is not always bliss but rather responsible for the well-being of the elder.

How to Report Elder Abuse

If you’re being abused by a caregiver or anyone for that matter, it’s important to report it to your doctor or a family member. Stick to the people you trust and allow them to help you.

There are agencies in each community that is prepared to handle these circumstances. If you are not sure who to call, the National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 1-800-787-3224. The agency is a public service of the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Administration on Aging. The agency is open Monday through Friday during business hours and can refer you to a local agency that will handle the abuse report.

How to Prevent Elderly Abuse

There are three keys to the prevention of elderly abuse.

1. Listen

Listening to the seniors and those who care for them will oftentimes provide clues and insight into an abusive situation. Listen for cries of help among the elderly. If you suspect your parent is being abused, keep an open relationship with them while getting more and more involved in the daily life of their caregiver.

2. Intervene

Intervening is crucial in preventing elderly abuse. There is no time to turn the other cheek or bury your head in the sand. If you suspect abuse, something must be done about it. Report the suspicion to the Adult Protective Services agency in your area.

3. Educate

Education is one of the most important elements in preventing future abuse. Through education, others can be taught what signs to watch for and how to report elder abuse. Most senior centers or geriatric physician offices supply free information on the prevention of elder abuse.

What are the signs and symptoms of elderly abuse?

  • 1. Physical Abuse

Physical abuse against an elderly person is non-accidental use of force that is designed to inflict pain on that individual. Such abuse may include hitting, pushing, or kicking. Even the administration of inappropriate dosages or types of drugs may result in physical abuse. Confinement and restraint are also considered abuse.

  • 2. Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves contact with an elderly person in a sexual nature without the person’s consent. While forced sexual activity is the most common abuse of this type, showing an elderly person pornographic material or forcing the elder to undress is also considered abuse.

  • 3. Mental or Emotional Abuse

Mental or emotional abuse most often involves intimidation through yelling, threatening, or humiliating. Emotional abuse can cause distress among the individual causing them to become nervous and panicky. Nonverbal emotional abuse is recognized as ignoring the elder, isolating the person from friends and family, or terrorizing the elderly individual through scare tactics or menacing.

  • 4. Financial Exploitation

Scam artists and caregivers are among the most common people who prey on the finances of an elderly person. Con-artists find the elderly easy to prey on and often do so in the form of fake charities, fraudulent investments, and prize giveaways in exchange for money. Personal finances may be exploited by caregivers for the elderly. This type of exploitation often involves stealing cash or income checks, forging the elder’s name and cashing checks, misusing credit cards, or stealing the elderly person’s identity.

  • 5. Neglect

Neglecting an elder is a form of abuse that should be reported. According to most aging services by state, neglect is the most common form of abuse against the elderly. Neglect may be intentional or unintentional. In this case, ignorance is not always bliss but rather responsible for the well-being of the elder.

What To Read Next?

✅ Ideas for seniors in financial trouble

✅ Home improvement & remodeling for the retirement home

✅ Help for seniors with disabilities and special needs

✅ How can you be at peace with others?

✅ What to do when feeling bored and lonely?

✅ How to stay mentally and physically healthy for older adults?

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