Recognizing Elder Abuse, Neglect and
Every year, hundreds of thousands of older Americans and adults with disabilities experience abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Abuse can happen anywhere, including in the person’s home, in a facility responsible for the person’s care, or in the home of a friend or relative. People who have no family or friends in the area and people with memory problems or dementia may be particularly vulnerable.
See the chart below to learn how to recognize different types and signs of elder abuse.
Your help can make an incredible difference in the life of a vulnerable adult. Click here for information about reporting elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
How do I recognize elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation?
General signs of abuse, neglect, or exploitation may include:
Physical abuse happens when someone uses physical force to cause bodily harm to an older person. It may involve pushing, shoving, hitting, slapping, shaking, kicking, burning, or pinching, over-medication, the inappropriate use of restraints, or other acts that can cause physical harm.
Signs of physical abuse may include:
Neglect and Self-Neglect
Neglect happens when a caregiver refuses or fails to meet the older person's basic needs. This is the most common form of abuse among older adults.
Self-Neglect happens when the older person himself is unable to meet his own needs and suffers harm as a result.
Signs of neglect or self-neglect may include:
Emotional and Psychological Abuse
Emotional or Psychological Abuse happens when someone uses verbal or non-verbal behaviors to cause mental pain, fear, or distress. This may involve name-calling, insults, intimidation or threats, ignoring, yelling, verbal harassment, or isolating the person from loved ones.
Signs of emotional or psychological abuse may include:
Financial Abuse and Exploitation
Financial Abuse or Exploitation happens when someone uses an older person’s money, property, or assets for the benefit of someone other than the older person.
Signs of financial abuse or exploitation may include:
Sexual Abuse happens when someone forces an older person to watch or be part of unwanted sexual acts, or when someone has sexual contact with an older adult who is not physically or mentally able to give consent. This includes sexual harassment, rape or non-consensual sexual contact of any kind, forced nudity, taking photos or videos of the older person that are nude or sexual in nature, and forcing the older person to look at sexual photos or pornography.
Signs of sexual abuse may include:
In Florida, any person who knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect, that a vulnerable adult has been or is being abused, neglected, or exploited must immediately report this knowledge or suspicion to the abuse hotline.
Abuse Hotline: 1-800-962-2873
Abuse Hotline for the Deaf: 1-800-453-5145
Click here for more information about reporting elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
More Elder Abuse Information and Resources
Questions? Need help? Please call (561) 684-5885 and press option 3 to leave a voicemail for our Elder Rights Center. We check our voicemail daily and will respond to you as quickly as possible