What to Look For

Abuse comes in many forms. Know the signs and symptoms of abuse and don't be hesitant to act on a gut feeling. Educate those around you about Elder Abuse and what to do if they believe a vulnerable adult is being abused.

Elder abuse can happen at the victim's own home, a nursing home, or in a group home. While many older people live on their own or with their spouses, children, siblings, or other relatives, a significant number live in institutional settings. When elder abuse happens, family, other household members, and paid caregivers are usually the abusers. Although there are extreme cases of elder abuse, often the abuse is subtle, and the distinction between normal interpersonal stress and abuse is not always easy to discern.

It isn't just infirm or mentally impaired elderly people who are vulnerable to abuse. Elders who are ill, frail, disabled, and mentally impaired or depressed are at greater risk of abuse, but even those who do not have these obvious risk factors can find themselves in abusive situations and relationships.

Signs & Symptoms

Stay alert to possible signs and symptoms of the different forms of abuse, signs include:
  • Unexplained injuries or behavior
  • Vulnerable adult appears afraid of a person or certain situations
  • Vulnerable adult is kept isolated from others
  • Vulnerable adult reports abuse
  • Vulnerable adults basic needs not being addressed, such as food and bathing, or medical needs such as doctors appointment and medications