Elder Abuse

The National Council on Elder Abuse estimates that 1 in 10 adults over the age of 60 has experienced some form of Elder Abuse.

Unfortunately, Elder Abuse can happen in an assisted living facility, nursing home, or at home by a health care provider or caregiver.


There are many types of abuse:

  • Physical abuse happens when someone causes bodily harm by hitting, pushing, or slapping. This may also include restraining an older adult against his/her will, such as locking them in a room or tying them to furniture.
  • Emotional abuse, sometimes called psychological abuse, can include a caregiver saying hurtful words, yelling, threatening, or repeatedly ignoring the older adult. Keeping that person from seeing close friends and relatives is another form of emotional abuse.
  • Neglect occurs when the caregiver does not try to respond to the older adult’s needs. This may include physical, emotional, and social needs, or withholding food, medications, or access to health care.
  • Abandonment is leaving an older adult who needs help alone without planning for his or her care.
  • Sexual abuse involves a caregiver forcing an older adult to watch or be part of sexual acts.
  • Financial abuse happens when money or belongings are stolen from an older adult. It can include forging checks, taking someone else’s retirement or Social Security benefits, or using a person’s credit cards and bank accounts without their permission. It also includes changing names on a will, bank account, life insurance policy, or title to a house without permission.


Unfortunately, most victims of abuse are the most vulnerable:

  • older adults
  • People who are frail
  • people suffering from dementia
  • people with memory problems
  • people with no family or friends 
  • people with disabilities
  • people with severe physical impairments 


Elder abuse will not stop on its own and many older adults are too ashamed to report mistreatment, or they are afraid to report it to an authority for fear of making the situation worse.