Neglect or mistreatment of older people is called elder abuse. It can happen anywhere, at home by
family or friends, in nursing homes or by other caregivers. Elder abuse is any harm done to an older
person by anyone who the older person relies on for their basic needs.
The abuse can be physical, financial or emotional. If the abuse is from a family member or a friend it
can be very hard to deal with.
Forms of Abuse (but not limited to)
Unnecessary physical restraint
Burns, cuts, bruises, welts, rope marks
Failing to provide meals
Lacking or neglect of medical attention
Not providing basic needs
Theft of pensions, money, property
Making older person change their will or sell property
Misuse of Power of Attorney
Fraud, forgery or extortion
Family members’ influence not always good
Yelling, insulting, humiliating or threatening
Treating an older person like a child
Who is the Abuser??
Abusers are usually people who control or influence the older person. They sometimes depend on the
older adult for money or for a place to live.
A caregiver that is overwhelmed with the situation of taking care of an older person with no outside
support can break down to the point of becoming an abuser.
The silence surrounding this crime can be from fear of retaliation or of being placed in an institution
against your will. Shame can prevent reporting if the abuse is from a family member.
Signs of Abuse
Poor hygiene or bedsores
Fear, depression or anxiety
Malnutrition or dehydration
Missing property or unpaid bills
Missing money or securities
What can you do if you are abused or suspect abuse?
If you are being abused or suspect that someone is being abused, look for the organizations in your
community that might have experience in this area. Speak to the police, a trusted friend, pastor.