We have growing number of elders in our nation -- and in our community. One of the issues facing a growing senior population is Elder Abuse, which can take different forms. Even in our community, referrals are made to Adult Protective Services.
Here is a listing of the forms and warning signs of Elder Abuse taken from
National Center on Elder Abuse, handout: How You Can Help in the Fight Against Elder Abuse (2012).
Types of Elder Abuse
- Physical abuse- Use of force to threaten or physically injure a vulnerable elder
- Emotional abuse- Verbal attacks, threats, rejection, isolation, or belittling acts that cause or could cause mental anguish, pain or distress to a senior
- Sexual abuse- Sexual contact that is forced, tricked, threatened, or otherwise coerced upon a vulnerable elder, including anyone who is unable to grant consent
- Exploitation- Theft, fraud, misuse or neglect of authority, and use of undue influence as a lever to gain control over an older person’s money or property
Warning Signs of Elder Abuse
- Physical Abuse – Slap marks, unexplained bruises, most pressure marks, and certain types of burns and blisters, such as cigarette burns
- Neglect – Pressure ulcers, filth, lack of medical care, malnutrition or dehydration
- Emotional Abuse – Withdrawal from normal activities, unexplained changes in alertness, or other unusual behavioral changes
- Sexual Abuse – Bruises around the breasts or genital area and unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
- Financial Abuse/Exploitation – Sudden change in finances and accounts, altered wills and trusts, unusual back withdrawals, checks written as “loans” and “gifts” and loss of property
What Should I Do If I Suspect Elder Abuse?
- Report your concerns! Remember, most cases of Elder Abuse go undetected. Don’t assume that someone else has already reported a suspicious situation.
Adult Protective Services: (King County) 1-866-221-4909
- To report suspected abuse in a nursing home or long-term care facility,
Long Term Care Ombudsman: 1-206-623-0816
- If you or someone you know is in a life-threatening situation or immediate danger, contact 911 or local police or sheriff.
Also feel free to call and discuss your concerns with Senior Center staff – this is something we unfortunately have to deal with on a regular basis. You can reach the center at 360-825-4741.
Editor's Note: see also-