What Is Elder Abuse?


Did you know elder abuse may impact up to 1 out of every 6 seniors worldwide? It’s uncomfortably prevalent, and yet most people have no idea that it’s going on. 

But what is elder abuse?

Elder abuse is any abuse of a senior citizen. It can happen in a retirement facility, medical facility, or even the senior’s own home. Family members, medical professionals, and caretakers can all commit elder abuse.

We’re here to talk about a few forms of elder abuse so you can identify them. Read on to learn more.

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is one of the most insidious forms of elder abuse. It’s often perpetrated by family members.

When someone commits financial abuse, it means that they’re taking advantage of the senior’s resources and assets. They may steal the senior’s social security benefits, use their credit cards, change names on their will, and more.

If you suspect financial abuse, it’s important to contact an elder abuse lawyer. This is a complicated situation and it’s best to have someone who knows the law on your side.

Neglect and Abandonment

Neglect and abandonment are also common (and often hard to detect) forms of elder abuse. 

When a caregiver neglects a senior in their care, they’re not responding to the needs of that senior. They may not be taking care of their medical needs, feeding them, taking care of their sanitary needs, and more.

In worse cases, some caregivers abandon the seniors in their care altogether. This can result in the senior’s death. 

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is more obvious, but it’s still unfortunately not uncommon. Caregivers or family members may hit or slap the senior because they know that the senior can’t retaliate.

In more serious cases, the seniors may end up with broken bones, serious wounds, and more. 

Emotional or Psychological Abuse

Emotional abuse is hard to detect from an outside perspective. It happens when a caregiver yells at, scolds, demeans, or otherwise purposefully harasses a senior in their care.

The caregiver may prevent the senior from seeing their loved ones. Isolation is a common abuse tactic that will prevent the senior from seeking help. 

Always stay connected to the senior in your life so you can notice any potential changes in their attitude that may indicate emotional abuse. 

Sexual Abuse

As upsetting as it may be to think about, sexual abuse of seniors in senior living communities isn’t unheard of. Caregivers may force sexual acts on the seniors or force the seniors to observe sexual acts.

Some seniors may feel too embarrassed to report this kind of abuse to friends and family members. 

Elder Abuse Is More Common Than You Think

Not everyone who takes care of seniors has good intentions. Elder abuse isn’t uncommon in households, medical centers, and nursing homes. If you have a senior in your life, make sure that you talk to them about elder abuse and learn to notice the signs.

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