Why Is Elder Abuse Hard to Recognize?

Elder abuse
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Elder abuse often goes overlooked and underreported.

Some people are more vulnerable to abuse than others.

Law are on the books to provide protection for these individuals.

One of the most vulnerable populations is the elderly.

According to a recent The Courier Tribune article titled “Are you a victim of elder abuse?,” older folks and others often fail to make reports of suspected abuse of this population.

Elder abuse is often underreported.
Report elder abuse suspicions when you see them.


Abuse of seniors is frequently perpetrated within families.

This dynamic alone can make it easier to keep the abuse hidden.

Another reason people may fail to report elder abuse is misunderstanding: what qualifies as “abuse” when reporting?

Elder abuse can be emotional, financial, physical, or sexual.

Seniors are also vulnerable to exploitation and neglect.

Some forms are certainly more noticeable than others.

Emotional abuse can be particularly challenging to recognize.

It includes belittling, bullying, threats, and verbal attacks.

Emotional abuse does not leave physical scars but causes mental pain and distress.

Exploitation is often the one most associated with estate planning issues.

Some family members commit fraud to take property from a loved one.

Others exert undue influence over the elderly by pressuring them to sign legal documents.

A power of attorney can be especially effective for those committing elder abuse.


Because it can grant an agent broad authority over the assets of the senior.

Despite these challenges, the United States is seeing a rise in elder abuse reports.

Of incidents reported, most involved neglect or financial crimes.

Whether you are a family member, friend, or mandatory reporter, you should be alert for signs of abuse or neglect.

If you suspect someone is harming or has targeted a senior, visit the National Center on Elder Abuse website at ncea.acl.gov.

Reporting elder abuse for yourself or another can protect others from similar exploitation.

Reference: Courier Tribune (July 11, 2021) “Are you a victim of elder abuse?”

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