Elder Abuse and Persons With Disabilities

Elder Abuse is a silent problem that robs seniors of their dignity, security, and in some cases, cost them their lives.

Up to five million older Americans are abused every year, and the annual loss by victims of financial abuse is estimated to be at least $36.5 billion.

What is Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, neglect and abandonment. Perpetrators include children, other family members, and spouses–as well as staff at nursing homes, assisted living, and other facilities.

Physical abuse means inflicting physical pain or injury upon an older adult.

Sexual Abuse means touching, fondling, intercourse, or any other sexual activity with an older adult, when the older adult is unable to understand, unwilling to consent, threatened, or physically forced.

Emotional abuse means verbal assaults, threats of abuse, harassment, or intimidation.

Confinement means restraining or isolating an older adult, other than for medical reasons.

Passive neglect is a caregiver’s failure to provide an older adult with life’s necessities, including, but not limited to, food, clothing, shelter, or medical care.

Willful deprivation means denying an older adult medication, medical care, shelter, food, a therapeutic device, or other physical assistance, and exposing that person to the risk of physical, mental, or emotional harm–except when the older, competent adult has expressed a desire to go without such care.

Financial exploitation means the misuse or withholding of an older adult’s resources by another.

Who are the abusers of older adults?

Abusers are both men and women. In almost 60% of elder abuse and neglect incidents, the perpetrator is a family member. Two thirds of perpetrators are adult children or spouses. Approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse. Some estimates range as high as five million elders who are abused each year. One study estimated that only 1 in 24 cases of abuse are reported to authorities.

What are possible signs of abuse?

Emotional & Behavioral Signs

-Unusual changes in behavior or sleep

-Fear and Anxiety

-Isolated or not responsive


Physical Signs

-Broken bones, bruises, and welts.

-Cuts, sores or burns

-Torn, stained or bloody underclothing

-Sexually transmitted diseases without clear explanation

-Missing daily living aids (glasses, walker, and medications)

Financial Signs

-Unusual changes in bank account or money management

-Unusual or quick changes in a will or other financial documents

-Fake signatures on financial documents

-Unpaid bills

*If you or someone you know is a victim of elder abuse/persons with disabilities you can contact us at 541-947-2449 and speak with an advocate today. All services are free and confidential.