According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse. Each year as many as 5 million elders are abused, but only 1 in 14 cases are reported to authorities.


Elder abuse refers to intentional or neglectful acts that cause harm or serious risk of harm to an older person. The term encompasses a broad range of mistreatment, but the most common forms of elder abuse include the following:

  1. Physical abuse
  2. Neglect
  3. Emotional or psychological abuse
  4. Financial abuse and exploitation
  5. Sexual abuse
  6. Abandonment


A large majority of elder abusers are family members, commonly an adult child or spouse. Abuse can also occur at a long-term care facility, such as a nursing home or assisted living facility, by employees that have direct contact with residents.


If an older adult is in immediate, life-threatening danger, call 911. Anyone who suspects that an older adult is being mistreated should contact a local Adult Protective Services office, Long-Term Care Ombudsman, or police. NCEA describes various scenarios and ways to Get Help, and more information is available from the Eldercare Locator online or by calling 1-800-677-1116.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this series: Elder Abuse – Part 2: Warning Signs and Prevention. For more information regarding legal issues and your specific situation, contact Gerstenberger Law at (770) 920-7722.

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The information found on the Gerstenberger Law site is for educational purposes only. Your situation and the situation of others are unique and more complex. This is neither legal advice nor to be considered legal advice. Contact us for advice about your specific situation.

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