Recognizing the Signs of Elder Abuse

In today’s society it’s sad but true that elderly people are sometimes abused – and the mistreatment can involve neglect including physical, psychological, sexual and financial abuse. Being able to recognize the signs of abuse is important for you to be able to help stop this from happening to someone you love.

Physical Abuse

This is often characterized by unexplained cuts, bruises, burns, bleeding, broken bones or any type of injuries that happen repeatedly. Another sign is that the abused person repeatedly refuses to see a doctor about their injuries.  

Sexual Abuse

Signs of this can include torn or bloody clothing (especially underwear); bruises around the breasts or genitals; and sexually transmitted diseases.

Psychological Abuse

This type of abuse can result in sudden, unexplained changes in behavior; confusion or depression; losing interest in things the person used to enjoy; acting frightened or withdrawn; mumbling to themselves; having trouble sleeping.

Financial Abuse

Signs of financial abuse include unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts or other financial accounts; legal documents that disappear or are changed; missing financial statements; forged signatures; unpaid bills and/or utilities or other services being cut off.


Neglect happens when a caregiver fails to give an elderly person necessary care – such as proper food, water, hygiene, medications, clothing, etc. Signs of neglect include weight loss, unkempt or dirty appearance, skin rashes, bed sores and missing or broken eyeglasses, dentures or hearing aids.

Get Help to Stop Elder Abuse

If you recognize the signs of elder abuse, contact law enforcement immediately to help protect your loved one.