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3 Things To Know About Elder Abuse

No one wants to imagine that their older loved ones could suffer at the hands of someone else, nonetheless a caregiver, but the fact is, elder abuse is more common than you might think.

More than 643,000 older adults over the age of 60 were treated in the emergency department for nonfatal assaults, and over 19,000 homicides occurred from 2002 to 2016. So, although you may not see it, elder abuse is a growing problem, and it’s essential to know what it is and how to spot it. Read on to learn the signs of elder abuse and what you could do to help.

What is Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse is a deliberate act or failure to act that threatens or places an older adult at risk of harm. There are many different types of elder abuse, and common ones include:

Financial abuse

Physical abuse

Sexual abuse

Emotional or Psychological abuse


These types of abuse can happen at the hands of a person the older adult trusts or strangers, so remain vigilant by learning the signs of elder abuse.

The Signs of Elder Abuse

Here are common red flags that point to abuse to look out for when you visit an older adult:

Has unexplained bruises, burns, cuts, or scars

Becomes withdrawn or acts aggressively

Has trouble sleeping

Living in unsafe or unclean conditions

Displays signs of insufficient care or unpaid bills despite having financial resources

Looks disheveled or messy

Stops engaging in activities they usually enjoy

Displays signs of trauma, like rocking back and forth

Has lost weight without reason

Develops bed sores or preventable conditions

How Can You Help?

If you see signs of abuse, the most important thing to do is to get help or report it to adult protective services because abuse does not stop unless someone intervenes. To make a report, you can use the National Center on Elder Abuse Listing of State Abuse Hotlines to find your state’s reporting numbers and other resources.

Educating oneself and others is one of the best ways to prevent elder abuse and recognize it when it happens, so if you learned something in this newsletter, be sure to share it with someone else.

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