Elder Abuse: Spotting the Signs and Responding

What we ignore, when we think about getting older, is the abuse and neglect in our senior years. It is estimated that more than 2.5 million senior citizens are victims of some form of maltreatment of which 90% of the abuse being committed by the ones whom the elderly victim knows- most often a family member.

Signs of Elder Abuse:

An older person who is being abused:-

•    May seem depressed and withdrawn
•    Seem afraid to make their own decisions
•    Seems to be hiding something about a caregiver
•    Will never accept invitations to spend time away from their family or a caregiver
•    Never seems to have spending money
•    May reject going to doctor
•    Seems to encounter too many household accidents

Elder victims of abuse and neglect are at greater risk than other age groups suffering the same problem. The effects can lead to more serious injuries to elders whose bone break and tissues tear more easily. The process of recovery or healing slows down with age. Most devastating are financial abuse as elderly people are less likely to work to make up for their losses.

Where to Get Help:

Talk to you your doctor, before things get worse, if you or someone you know is frightened in their own home. Your doctor can help you think about better options.

For Pennsylvanians over the age of 60, Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) that include older adult protective services, help is also available as an important component of their aging services.

Phone Number for the local AAA can be found in the phone book blue pages under Abuse/Assault or find it in AAAwebsite.
Help is also available through National Domestic Violence Hotline at:

•    (800)  799-7233 (SAFE)
•    (800)  787-3224 (TTY for the Deaf)
You can get help in English, Spanish and many other languages. All contact with the hotline is free and confidential.

How to Get Help:

Professional caregivers address the emotional and physical demand for the elder victims of abuse and neglect. They may help to relieve the stress and tension that give rise to abuse and neglect. Caregivers assist even vulnerable victims in their daily activities such as bathing, preparing meals, shopping, etc. These caregivers can be hired for few hours, a week, or for longer durations according to the necessity. However counseling and legal assistance can also be few measures to check this grave issue.

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