Many people who experience elder abuse believe that they are at fault for the abuse. This is a common feeling for other kinds of abuse, too (child abuse or domestic violence). A person may feel ashamed and embarrassed by the situation. Often they have been warned by the person perpetrating abuse not to reveal the abuse to others, so they are fearful. The majority of elder abuse is perpetrated by family members or trusted others, so people feel conflicted about seeking help because they don't want to get family members in trouble with the law, even though they want the abuse to stop.
It is important that people who experience elder abuse understand that they are not to blame. They should also understand that they are not the only ones experiencing abuse. Hundreds of thousands of older people are abused, neglected and exploited every year in America. Finally, you and your loved one should know that this should not have happened to them. We are all entitled to justice no matter our age.
Help is available. The typical types of help people seek are mental health and counseling services, medical services/home health services, legal services, domestic violence programs and social service supports, such as case management, transportation or home delivered meals. The ultimate goal of the services is to increase the older person’s ability to live independently in the home as long as possible, to reduce their dependence on one caregiver and to reduce the likelihood of abuse, neglect or exploitation from reoccurring.
For help in finding services in the community, your local Adult Protective Services agency (look up on the State Resources
page) may be able to provide some community referrals, and if the person lives in a nursing home, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman
would be a good resource. Another source for information on services available in the community is the Eldercare Locator website
or call 1-800-677-1116. Other sources of information that can help you include: