If you suspect elder abuse, call 1-800-392-0210 or report online
Elder abuse is a rampant problem, affecting an estimated 16 percent of adults age 60 or older. These numbers are still lower than the actual average, as elder abuse, like many other forms of abuse, is wildly underreported.
What Is It?
So what is elder abuse? Elder abuse is intentional harm or neglect that adversely affects a vulnerable adult. This abuse is typically divided into five categories: physical, sexual, neglect, psychological, and financial.
- Physical abuse is intentionally using physical force that results in injury or impairment.
- Sexual abuse is any non-consensual sexual act with an older adult.
- Neglect is failing to provide the needs of an older adult by a caregiver.
- Psychological abuse is inflicting mental or emotional pain on an older adult.
- Financial abuse is the misappropriation of an older adult’s money or property.
Perpetrators and Underreporting
A trusted person often perpetrates elder abuse in the older adult’s life. This could be a caregiver, relative, or friend. The victim is then faced with the dilemma of whether to report this trusted individual’s actions who have abused them. Fear of retaliation, worry that if the abuse is from a caregiver, the victim will end up in a long term care community, and anguish about how this abuse will affect their family contributes to older adults not reporting abuse.
Because this abuse is underreported by victims and sometimes institutions designed to care for older adults, we must recognize the signs of abuse as loved ones, advocates, and concerned persons. These signs include bruises, sores, broken bones, bedsores, weight loss, unkempt hygiene, depression, unusual purchases, bills not being paid, and not keeping appointments.
Report Elder Abuse if Suspected
If elder abuse is suspected, report it immediately to 1-800-392-0210 or report online.