Signs and symptoms of elder
abuse vary widely depending on the type of abuse.
Signs that an older person is the victim of
acts of violence may include:
Bruises, black eyes, welts, lacerations,
rope marks, cuts, punctures, or untreated injuries in various stages of
Broken bones, including the skull.
dislocations, or internal injuries.
Broken eyeglasses or
Signs of being restrained.
of overdose or underuse of medicines.
Reports from the older
adult of being physically mistreated.
An older person's sudden
change in behavior.
A caregiver's refusal to allow visitors to see
an older person alone.
Symptoms of possible sexual abuse include
bruises around the breasts or genital area, unexplained venereal disease or
genital infections, unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding, underclothing that is
torn or stained, and reports from the older person of being sexually
Emotional or psychological abuse is possible if the
older person appears emotionally upset or agitated; acts withdrawn or is
noncommunicative, nonresponsive, or paranoid; exhibits unusual behavior
including sucking, biting, and rocking; or if he or she reports being verbally
or emotionally mistreated.
Signs of neglect may include
dehydration, malnutrition, untreated health problems, pressure ulcers, poor
personal hygiene, hazardous or unsanitary living conditions, and reports from
the older person of being mistreated.
Abandonment includes the
desertion of an older person at a hospital, nursing facility, shopping center,
or other public location.
Signs of financial exploitation include
sudden changes in a bank account or banking practice, such as unexplained
withdrawals of large amounts of money; additional names on an older person's
bank card; abrupt changes in a will or other financial document; disappearance
of funds or valuable possessions; unpaid bills or substandard care despite the
availability of funds; evidence of the older person's signature being forged;
the sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives; payment for
unnecessary services; and reports from the older person of financial
Help for elder abuse
If you are worried that someone you know might be a victim of elder abuse, talk to your doctor about what to look for, what the risks are, and what help is available.
To report elder abuse or to
get help, call Adult Protection Services (APS) in your
You can find the
telephone number for the APS office by calling directory assistance and
requesting the number for the Department of Social Services or Aging
If you cannot find the correct telephone number, call
Eldercare Locator toll-free at 1-800-677-1116 for assistance in locating
resources. Eldercare is sponsored by the U.S. Administration on Aging.