Abuse in Later Life

“Each year hundreds of thousands of older persons are abused, neglected, and exploited. Many victims are people who are older, frail, and vulnerable and cannot help themselves and depend on others to meet their most basic needs. Abusers of older adults are both women and men, and may be family members, friends, or ‘trusted others.'” – (aoa.gov)

older americans month

May is Older Americans Month!

Take an older person out to dinner or, if they are home-bound, visit and bring a meal!


Sadly, there are many older people who are being abused in some way. Please don’t bury your head in the sand – reach out! Be there! Give acceptance and encourage them to contact someone for help! Work to dispel the fear of being rejected or dismissed. Abuse is real and comes in many forms.

Honor the Older Americans in your life…not just in May, but always!

Forms of Abuse in Later Life are:

  • Physical Abuse – The willful infliction of physical pain, injury, or unreasonable confinement. It includes but is not limited to beating, strangulation, burning, and altering medication.
  • Sexual Abuse – When a person has been forced, tricked, threatened or otherwise coerced into sexual contact against their will.
  • Financial Exploitation – The misuse of an elder’s money or property, including deception, diverting income, mismanagement of funds and taking money or possessions against a person’s will or without their consent.
  • Neglect – Neglect occurs when a caregiver’s failure to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical or dental care results in significant danger to the physical or mental health of an elderly person in his/her care.
  • Self Neglect – Self neglect means a significant danger to an elder person’s physical or mental health because the elder person is unable or fails to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical or dental care for themselves.

What to do if you know or suspect abuse of an older adult:

  • Start by BELIEVING! The first step is to listen and believe what the victim is telling you. Do not blame a medical condition or loss of mental capacity.
  • Seek HELP. Call the Adult Protective Services Agency in your community:
  • FOLLOW UP. Check in with the person you are concerned about. Be a supportive person for them. Let them know you care and ask how you can help.

Call Bolton Refuge House (715) 834.9578 or visit these links to learn more: