Elder Abuse Warning Signs


Elder abuse is a frightening reality for many older people. It can happen to anyone. It can be done by family members or professional caregivers. And the victim may be unwilling or unable to speak out. But if you know the signs, you can help stop it. Here are some things to watch out for.

Physical abuse and neglect

First, look for obvious physical signs. Do they have any bruises, burns or scars that can't be explained? These are signs of physical abuse. Does the person have bedsores or any other preventable conditions? Do they have unwashed hair or dirty clothes? Is their living space messy and unclean? These are signs of neglect.

Emotional abuse and trauma

Look for signs of emotional abuse and trauma, too. Has the person become withdrawn? Do they have trouble sleeping? Have they lost weight? Do they seem depressed and confused? And do they show behaviors like rocking back and forth or acting out violently? These can be signs of serious problems.

Financial abuse and control

And finally, are there questions about their finances that just don't add up? Are they missing property? Are they being cut off from contact with family and friends? These can be signs that someone is stealing from them or controlling them in some way.


If you see any of these warning signs, take them seriously. Talk to the person privately. Let them know you feel something isn't right. And then, get help. Report the abuse, and make sure they get somewhere safe. By acting on your suspicions, you can stop elder abuse.