Elder Abuse Prevention Resource Guide

Not a TASA-referred expert. Published with permission from Sixty and Me


Elder abuse is a growing problem in the United States. And sadly, the problem is likely to continue to increase as the American population ages. This article explores what elder abuse is and then provides resources that a concerned individual can access to help someone who is potentially experiencing elder abuse. 

What Is Elder Abuse? 

Elder abuse is abuse that is directed at an older American. Often, the abused individuals are vulnerable in a variety of ways. For example, the abused individual may be experiencing cognitive decline. They could have other health problems, or they may not have loved ones looking out for their well-being. 

7 Types of Elder Abuse

Many people don’t know this, but elder abuse is actually an umbrella term. Several types of elder abuse can occur, but the name is often generalized. The Nursing Home Abuse Center identifies seven specific types of elder abuse, which are: 

#1 Physical Abuse

Physical abuse happens when an older adult is physically harmed by a person who is in a caretaking role. This physical harm can take many different forms, such as hitting or kicking. As a result, the older adult may suffer broken bones, bruises, or a host of other problems. In some cases, the abuse may even result in death. Some typical signs may include: broken bones, bruises, and burns.

#2 Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse happens when an older adult is forced to engage in sexual contact that is non-consensual. Sometimes this abuse happens by force and sometimes it is perpetrated against a person who lacks the ability to consent, such as someone who is in severe cognitive decline. There may be physical signs of this abuse. Another clue to look for is if your elderly loved one suddenly experiences new sexually transmitted illnesses.

Some typical signs may include: 

  • Newly diagnosed sexually transmitted illnesses
  • Bruising around the genitals, and 
  • Bleeding from the vagina and/or anus

#3 Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is complex and may take on many different forms. As the name suggests, emotional abuse damages a person’s psyche or mental health and is often designed to create fear or anxiety. Often a person who is a victim of emotional abuse will appear withdrawn or depressed.

Some typical signs may include:

  • Depression
  • Failure to make eye contact, and 
  • Increasing isolation from loved ones

To read the full blog, click here

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