Visiting Angels South Orange County Blog

Elder Abuse

Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is defined as intentional actions that cause harm or create a serious risk of harm to an elderly person by a caregiver or someone who has a trust relationship with the elder.

What constitutes abuse? There are many different forms of elder abuse, here are some of the main ones

  • Financial abuse/exploitation
  • Abandonment
  • Isolation
  • Mental suffering
  • Neglect
  • Physical abuse

Quick facts:

1 in 10 Americans are suffering from some form of elder abuse.

More than 60% of elder abuse perpetrators are adult children or spouses.

Likelihood of abuse increases with age, with the median age of victims being 77.9

Signs of an abused elder: It is critical to understand the signs of elder abuse so you can recognize if it is happening and take steps to intervene. While everyone may react differently to abuse these are some things that have been observed.

  • Unusual or unexplained injuries (cuts, burns, bruises)
  • Unkept appearance
  • Dehydration and malnourishment
  • Fear
  • Depression
  • Withdrawal
  • Hesitation to speak openly
  • Strange unbelievable stories as a way of explaining injuries or financials

Signs of an abuser:

  • Problems with substance abuse
  • Verbally threatening or insulting elder
  • Does not allow older person to speak for him/herself
  • Placing blame on elder
  • Only concerned with the financial aspect instead of overall wellbeing
  • Isolating the elderly person from others
  • Shows attitudes of indifference or anger


How to help:

The main things you can do to help save the life of an elderly person in a situation like this is

  1. Listening to seniors and their caregivers
  2. Intervening when you suspect elder abuse
  3. Educating others on how to recognize and report elder abuse


If you suspect someone you know is being abused please report it. There is no excuse for elder abuse! Elder Abuse Helplines and Hotlines Call 1-800-677-1116. Always dial 911 or local police during emergencies.

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