Report elder abuse right away. Elder abuse might be physical, emotional, or financial. It may take the form of outright abuse or a more subtle case of neglect.
- Call the Eldercare Locator for a complete list of agencies in your area: 1-800-677-1116.
- Dial 911 if you believe someone is in immediate danger.
Eldercare Locator can provide the number of local Adult Protective Services, the long-term care ombudsman, and other helpful state agencies that address issues specific to the elderly.
You can also find Adult Protective Services using the National Adult Protective Services Association website.
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233. Many cases of elder abuse are perpetrated by an intimate partner or an adult child. No matter who perpetrates the abuse, these cases should be reported immediately.
What to Do if You Report Elder Abuse
Once you report elder abuse, take the following three steps to begin building your case:
- Photograph any injuries or other evidence.
- Gather the patient’s medical records.
- Contact an elder abuse attorney.
If an elder has suffered abuse, elder abuse attorneys can help families of the victims win settlements to cover medical costs and any other costs associated with nursing home abuse and wrongful death cases.
Reporting Problems in a Skilled Nursing Home
Under the Older Americans Act (OAA), every state is required to have a long-term care ombudsman. An “ombudsman” is an official who investigates complaints. They will also advocate for long-term care residents and endeavor to address their problems.
If you need to report a skilled nursing facility or a retirement home, Medicare.gov recommends you visit the facility’s website to find the following information:
- State Survey Agency
- State Licensure Office
- Protection and Advocacy Network
- Medicaid Fraud Control Unit
You may want to contact these agencies in addition to the long-term care ombudsman.
Elder Abuse Statistics 2023
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) provides the following elder abuse data.
- NCEA estimates that only 1 in 24 cases of elder abuse are reported.
- Most of the elderly who report abuse are abused by caregivers, family members, and nursing home staff. Adult children are reportedly the most frequent perpetrators of elder abuse.
- Financial Abuse: Financial abuse is committed by family members in 54% of cases and by care workers in 31% of cases. Partners account for 13% of cases of financial abuse.
- Long-term Care Abuse: 33.4% of long-term care residents report some form of psychological abuse. 14.1% report physical abuse, 13.8% report financial abuse, and 11.6% report neglect.
Elderly Abuse Laws
Violating elderly abuse laws may result in prison time and significant fines, depending on the type of violation. Elder abuse laws vary by state. No matter where you live, elder abuse is against the law.
In some states, certain types of elder abuse may qualify as a felony. For instance, N.Y. Penal Law § 260.34 states that “Endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person, or an incompetent or physically disabled person in the first degree is a class D felony.”
Visit the Department of Justice to look up the elder abuse laws in your state.
Elder Abuse Statistics by State
Each state must respond to the unique challenges faced by its elder population. Many states have reported increased challenges to the elderly in the wake of Covid.
- Reports of elder abuse to the California ombudsman are higher than in other states.
- Texas saw an increased number of elder abuse reports APS in 2021 – especially cases of self-neglect.
- Florida nursing homes suffer from particularly low ratings, and 92% faced staffing challenges since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Elder Abuse Reporting Laws by State
Different states have different rules for reporting elder abuse. Certain states consider doctors and nurses mandatory reporters, meaning they are required to report to local authorities if they suspect elder abuse. In other states, elders may have to rely on friends, family, responsible caretakers, and concerned financial professionals to advocate for their well-being.
Reporting Elder Abuse
Elders are more likely than the rest of the population to face some sort of social isolation. It is up to concerned citizens to make reports when they suspect any type of abuse. The NCEA reports that elders are often too intimidated by their abusive caregivers to make a report. Do not hesitate to call Adult Protective Services or another relevant agency to report your suspicions of elder abuse.