Elder Abuse Prevention: What You Need to Know

man reading a book

As the aging population of the United States continues to grow, concerns about elder abuse are on the rise. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports that 1 in 10 Americans over 60 have experienced it in some form. Unfortunately, it remains a largely hidden problem. However, there is hope. If we work together to look out for the older members of our communities, we can help prevent this troubling trend.

It's important to understand that elder abuse comes in many forms, here are just a few:

  • Emotional – Verbal attacks, threats, harassment, isolation and belittling acts
  • Physical – Inflicting physical pain or injury
  • Financial – Theft, fraud, misuse or neglect of authority and use of undue influence to gain control over an older person’s money or property
  • Neglect – Failure or refusal of a caregiver to provide for the older person’s safety, physical and emotional needs

Unfortunately, many cases of elder abuse go unreported. The NCEA estimates only 1 in 23 cases are reported. This means that very few victims of this abuse get the help they need.

However, there are warning signs you can look out for to spot potential abuse.

  • Physical Signs
    • Unexplainable injuries
    • Dehydration or unusual weight loss
    • Missing daily living aids like glasses, hearing aids and mobility tools
    • Unsanitary living conditions and poor hygiene
    • Unattended medical needs
  • Emotional & Behavioral signs
    • Increased fear and anxiety
    • Isolation from friends and family
    • Changes in behavior or mood
    • Withdrawal from normal routines
  • Financial Signs
    • Unusual or sudden changes in spending patterns, will or other financial documents
    • Unpaid bills
    • Fraudulent signatures on financial documents

If you suspect you or someone you know is experiencing any form of elder abuse, report it.

  • If someone is in immediate danger, call 911 or local law enforcement.
  • If danger is not imminent, report your concerns to the local Adult Protective Services (APS) agency. Find your state hotline number by visiting the NCEA’s Resource Center or call the Eldercare Locator at 1.800.677.1116.
  • If you suspect abuse of a person in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or care home, contact the local Long-Term Care Ombudsman. Find your local program at ltcombudsman.org/ombudsman.

At Bank of Colorado, we believe our elders are valuable members of our communities, and it’s our duty to assist whenever possible. We train our employees to recognize the signs of elder abuse and report them.

We hope you will join us in the fight to prevent elder abuse.