Elder Abuse

For help, call our hotline at (800) 688-6157.
Our advocates are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Your call is confidential. 

What is
Elder Abuse? 

Elder abuse includes physical, emotional, or sexual harm inflicted upon an older adult, their financial exploitation, or neglect of their welfare by people who are directly responsible for their care. 

elderly-woman 02.jpg

1 in 10 Americans will experience Elder Abuse in their lifetime. 

As older adults become more physically frail, they’re less able to take care of themselves, stand up to bullying, or fight back if attacked. 

Types of
Elder Abuse and Neglect

Elder abuse tends to take place where the senior lives: where their abusers are often adult children, other family members such as grandchildren, or a spouse or partner. Elder abuse can also occur in institutional settings, especially long-term care facilities.

Physical Elder Abuse

Elder physical abuse refers to the use of violence and/or force against an older person in an attempt to cause injury or harm. 

Physical abuse can take many forms, including punching, kicking, pushing, or grabbing. It also includes verbal or physical threatening, rough-handling during bathing or toileting, or physically restraining the older adult.  

Emotional Elder Abuse

The treatment of an older adult in ways that cause emotional or psychological pain or distress. These can include yelling or threats; humiliation and ridicule; habitual blaming or scapegoating. A person can also ignore the older adult, isolate them from friends or activities, and terrorize them through menacing behavior. 

Sexual Elder Abuse

Contact with an older adult without their consent. Such contact can involve physical sex acts, but activities such as showing an older adult pornographic material, forcing the person to watch sex acts, or forcing the elder to undress are also considered sexual elder abuse.

Elder Neglect

Neglect occurs when a caregiver does not respond to the older adult's needs. 

Neglect includes the withholding of essential food, medicines, or general care. Failure to provide daily living care such as bathing, feeding, dressing, or going to the bathroom. 

Elder Financial Exploitation

The unauthorized use of an older adult's funds or property, either by a caregiver or an outside scam artist. An unscrupulous caregiver might misuse an older adult's personal checks, credit cards, steal cash, income checks or household goods, forge the older adult's signature, and engage in identity theft. 

Healthcare Fraud

Carried out by unethical doctors, nurses, hospital personnel, and other professional care providers. This can include, not providing healthcare, but charging for it; overcharging or double-billing for medical care or services; getting kickbacks for referrals to other providers, or prescribing certain drugs; overmedicating or under medicating, and medical fraud. 

Warning Signs of Elder Abuse

crying-elderly-woman 01.jpg

Signs of elder abuse can be difficult to recognize or mistaken for symptoms of dementia or the older adult's frailty—or caregivers may explain them to you that way.

In fact, many of the signs and symptoms of elder abuse do overlap with symptoms of mental deterioration, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss them on the caregiver’s say-so.

Changes in personality or behavior of an older adult can be a sign of abuse.
Here are other warning signs that abuse may be taking place:

Warning Signs of Physical Elder Abuse:


  • Unexplained signs of injury, such as bruises, welts, or scars, especially if they appear symmetrically on two sides of the body.
  • Broken bones, sprains, or dislocations.
  • A report of drug overdose or an apparent failure to take medication regularly.
  • Broken eyeglasses or frames.
  • Signs of being restrained, such as rope marks on wrists.
  • Caregiver’s refusal to allow you to see the elder alone.




Warning Signs of Emotional Elder Abuse:


  • Threatening, belittling, or controlling caregiver behavior
  • Behavior from the elder that mimics dementia, such as rocking, sucking, or mumbling to themselves.




Warning Signs of Sexual Elder Abuse:


  • Bruises around breasts or genitals.
  • Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding.
  • Torn, stained, or bloody underclothing.




Warning Signs of Elder Neglect or Self-Neglect:


  • Unusual weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration.
  • Untreated physical problems, such as bed sores.
  • Unsanitary living conditions usch as dirt, bugs, soiled bedding and clothes.
  • Being left dirty or unbathed.
  • Unsuitable clothing or covering for the weather.
  • Unsafe living conditions such as no heat or running water; faulty electrical wiring; other fire hazards.
  • Desertion of the elder at a public place




Warning Signs of Financial Abuse:


  • Significant withdrawals from the elder’s accounts.
  • Sudden changes in the elder’s financial condition.
  • Items or cash missing from the senior’s household.
  • Suspicious changes in wills, power of attorney, titles, and insurance policies.
  • Addition of names to the senior’s signature card.
  • Financial activity the senior couldn’t have undertaken, such as an ATM withdrawal when the account holder is bedridden.
  • Unnecessary services, goods, or subscriptions.




Warnings Signs of Healthcare Fraud:


  • Duplicate billings for the same medical service or device.
  • Evidence of overmedication or under-medication.
  • Evidence of inadequate care when bills are paid in full.
  • Problems with the care facility such as poorly trained, paid, or insufficient staff. Crowding of patients and staff's inability to answer questions about adult care, adequately.





​​​Source Data: 

Help Guide to Mental Health and Wellness | www.helpguide.org

Each elder abuse report is a snapshot of what is taking place. The more information that you can provide, the better the chance the elder has of getting the quality of care they need.

sadness 01.jpg

Reporting Elder Abuse suspected by a Primary Caregiver 

 Older adults can become increasingly isolated from society and, with no work to attend, it can be easy for abuse cases to go unnoticed for long periods. Many seniors don’t report the abuse they face even if they’re able. Some fear retaliation from the abuser, while others view having an abusive caretaker as better than having no caretaker and being forced to move out of their own home.

  • Do not confront the abuser yourself. This may put the older person in more danger unless you have the elder’s permission and are able to immediately move them to alternative, safe care.

  • Find strength in numbers. If a family caregiver is suspected of abuse, other family members may have the best chance of convincing the older adult to consider alternative care.

  • Do not confront the abuser yourself. This may put the older person in more danger unless you have the elder’s permission and are able to immediately move them to alternative, safe care.

  • Feelings of shame can often keep elder abuse hidden. You may not want to believe a family member could be capable of abusing a loved one, or you may even think that the older adult would be angry at you for speaking up. But the earlier you intervene in a situation of elder abuse, the better the outcome will be for everyone involved.

​​​Source Data: 

Help Guide to Mental Health and Wellness | www.helpguide.org

Do you suspect your loved one of being a victim of elder abuse? We can help. 
Call our hotline, (800) 688-6157.
 Our Elder Abuse advocates are available 24 hours a day, 
7 days a week. 
Your call is confidential. 
elder-person-using-walking-cane 01.jpg
S.A.F.E. Inc. 
Stop Abusive Family Environments

We are an organization dedicated to providing aid to domestic violence victims and their children. 

Email: staysafe@safeincwv.org

Phone: (304) 436-8117

P.O. Box 669 
Welch, WV 24801

  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • Instagram - Black Circle

© 2019-2020 S.A.F.E., Inc.  |  Privacy Policy  |  Website by OnPath Graphics

SAFE Logo-Web.png