OpenPlacement Community > OpenPlacement Blog > Preventing, Recognizing & Taking Action Against Elder Abuse

Preventing, Recognizing & Taking Action Against Elder Abuse Christy Rakoczy

October 18th, 2013

ElderAbuseElder abuse has become a tremendous issue in the United States after many exposures of horrific treatment of those in need of great care at a late age. It is important to recognize the signs of elder abuse and how to either prevent or take action against it. It is only through education that individuals can understand how to combat those who are abusing the elderly.

Types of Abuse

It is first crucial to understand that there are various forms of elder abuse. Often, when thinking of elder abuse, individual’s consider physical abuse. However, there are other means through which seniors can experience abuse including emotionally, sexually, financially or through neglect or health care fraud. It is important to look for all of these when first researching a caregiver or institution, and then on an ongoing basis as care is given.

Preventing Elder Abuse

One of the first steps in preventing elder abuse is ensuring that the caretaker of any elderly loved one is well-known or their background and references are checked. It is important to find that the caretaker has a positive history of taking care of the elderly, and that those that she has served have been pleased with her help. By ensuring that the person in care of an elderly patient has not had any previous issues with taking care of a patient, it is less likely the caretaker will be untrustworthy.

Recognizing Elder Abuse

Physical abuse is most notable when recognizing senior abuse. Abuse can be very visible in the form of bruises or other indications of physical constraint.

Emotional abuse can be seen through changes in the individual’s nature as a result of intimidation or humiliation. Ignorance to the senior’s needs can be seen as well.

Major changes in finances or an increase in bills can be a signal of financial fraud. Checks can be stolen as well as identities. It is crucial to keep a close eye on the finances of any senior.

Visiting as often as possible and watching for possible infractions are the best tactics to prevent elder abuse.

Taking Action

The best action to take if elder abuse is clear is to remove the individual from the caretaker immediately. Having any evidence of the caregiver’s abuse such as pictures or ongoing anecdotal evidence is useful.

After removing the individual from the circumstance, involving local authorities, organizations involved with elder care abuse, and retaining an attorney may be necessary. In addition to protecting your own loved one, you want to ensure that no other individual will suffer the same injustices.

Overall, ensuring that seniors are being well taken care of by providers can require a lot of work and time, but it is crucial to ensure the health and safety of your loved one.


  1. Yvonne Parkel October 29, 2013

    Good information. One angle not mentioned though is abuse by the spouse. It took me almost 10 years to get anyone to help my mother who was being abused by her husband – not physically but by intimidation, humiliation, financially and medically as well as starvation! Just recently I heard of a situation where the wife is altering her diabetic hubby’s insulin based on what she thinks he needs instead of doctor’s orders! In my mother’s case, we had to fight against the way the laws of the state she lives in are written. She is safe now, in a facility and away from her hubby – legally. I am concerned about the insuline situation and am curious what should be done. I guess the “taking action” section of this article is the answer to that one! Thanks for sharing this most valuable information.

  2. Senior Living Communities Chicago April 29, 2014

    Having knowledge about elder abuse is a big help in preventing it. Elders must be taken cared of, properly. A well-known institution and staff must be considered in choosing the right place for them. We, at Senior Living Communities Chicago , has the perfect programs and activities for our elders. Our staff are also very compassionate and are all well-trained.
    Thanks very much for sharing this article.

    Senior Living Communities Chicago


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