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How to Identify Elder Abuse

If you suspect elder abuse, ask questions, and take care to document your suspicions. Elder abuse can shorten lifespans and threatens the dignity and quality of life of the elderly person. Learn how to identify elder abuse and prepare yourself to advocate for this vulnerable population. 

Elder Neglect

Elder neglect is a form of elder abuse characterized by a lack of care for the elderly person. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) states: “‘Neglect’ means the failure of the facility, its employees or service providers to provide goods and services to a resident that are necessary to avoid physical harm, pain, mental anguish or emotional distress.”

Who is Most Likely to Abuse the Elderly?

The elderly suffer abuse most often at the hands of those closest to them, including family members and caregivers. Caregivers or people who have a financial stake in the elderly person’s assets may be more likely to commit elder abuse.

Top Risk Factors for Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is unfortunately common, and up to 5 million elderly people suffer from abuse every year, according to the National Council on Aging. In addition to the signs and symptoms of elder abuse, people who have concerns should also be aware of the risk factors for elder abuse. 

How to Report Elder Abuse

Elder abuse might be physical, emotional, or financial. It may take the form of outright abuse or neglect. You should always report elder abuse right away.