What is Elder Abuse?

Abuse is defined as "intentional mistreatment or harm of another". Elder abuse can come from anyone who deals with an older person, but is generally committed by family members. For this reason, some older people are ashamed to seek help when they are being abused. Others fear they will be put into a nursing home or institution if they report it, or that it will get worse if they reveal it to other family members.

Forms of Elder Abuse

  1. Financial abuse is probably the most common type of abuse. Theft of money, mismanagement of funds, or the sale of your property without consent are all financial abuse.
  2. Physical abuse usually starts small and escalates. It may include physical restraint, striking, shoving, pulling hair, and sexual activity. 
  3. Abuse may be by omission rather than commission. Failure to feed, bathe, provide medication or medical care, etc. are considered abuse by neglect.
  4. Mental or psychological abuse may be ridicule, threats, discarding or breaking valued personal belongings, or humiliating the elder in private or public.
  5. Caregiver or institutional abuse comes at the hands of an in-home or institutional caregiver. It may include any or all the forms mentioned above. 

Return to the Safety Resource Center