Combatting Elder Abuse: It’s About Dignity

" "This Saturday is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), when people all over the world voice support for the rights and dignity of elders and opposition to the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older adults.

WEAAD is part of a global movement for “elder justice” that asserts the fundamental dignity and equality of older adults. Elder justice requires us to develop systems, approaches, and programs that prevent abuse, protect people from abusive situations, and support those members of our community who have experienced abuse to help them recover.

Abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation are not the inevitable consequences of growing old. We all have a role to play in changing how we talk about elder abuse in this country and around the world. Respecting the dignity and rights of people of all ages is a core American value, and a principle built into many American laws. For example:

  • The Elder Justice Act established programs and initiatives to strengthen the federal response to elder abuse, promote elder justice research, and support state Adult Protective Services (APS) systems. If you suspect elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation, contact your local APS office.
  • The Older Americans Act (OAA) created programs and services that help older adults stay healthy and engaged in our communities. You can connect to nutrition, caregiver support, legal assistance, and other OAA programs through Eldercare Locator or by calling 800-677-1116.
  • The Nursing Home Reform Act established a “Resident’s Bill of Rights” for people in most long-term care facilities. It includes the right to privacy, to participate in all aspects of care, to complain without retribution, and to visits from friends and medical providers. If you believe your rights, or the rights of a loved one in a long-term care facility, are being violated, contact your local Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act protects the civil rights of people with disabilities of all ages and helps make our communities more accessible and age-friendly. State Protection and Advocacy agencies inform and empower people with disabilities by investigating suspected abuse and neglect, and providing free legal representation and support for clients.

Our society is like a building.  Just as buildings need strong supports and secure beams to remain strong, our society needs solid “social” beams so that we can all participate fully in our communities, living free from abuse as we age. As we commemorate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, I hope you will join me in lifting up the voices of survivors, and taking action, such as engaging with the older people in your life, empowering members of your community with information, involving students and young people, or by speaking out.


39 thoughts on “Combatting Elder Abuse: It’s About Dignity

    • I became a victim of elder abuse when I fell on school grounds, after ten successful years of employment with Los Angeles Unified School!
      The whole school was performing below average. I was listed as an above average along with four other teachers!
      Unfortunately I was 72 years old and was injured ! Had to be eliminated!
      LAUSD did not spare anything to make me resign or disappear from this earth…hatred! Abuse, manipulation, ignorance, exclusion, suspension. Demeanor, negligence… and finally stealing my personal sick days to over my workers compensation sick days and stopping my health benefits as well as workers Comp. Benefits and threaten to resign or retire!
      Without my knowledge barred me from employment while I was still workin until 2016 ( as I was being abused continuously) !
      In March of 2019 finally, I was informed ‘You’ve been barred from employment since 2011!
      Although I have not signed a resignation but I am considered as a retired employee! (I know it is illegal to fire an employee who is on WC!

  1. Thank you for this helpful information, most of which I wasn’t aware existed. I’m 74 and am glad good folks like you head offices that helps the elderly!

  2. I am an 81 yr old abused senior citizen. Abused by my family, and most certainly by society , from scams. One that is disturbing me at the moment is a car maintianeous contract that turned out to be fraudulent and I reported it to the Atty.Gen. of Mo.,the St. of the contract issued (Via Ph.) in. I received word from Atty Gen . about 2 months ago, that the company had agreed to reimburse me $1470.00 of $1962.00 I have already paid the Co., and still have not gotten my refund – maybe because I resisted to being scammed out of $491.55 plus a $50.00 cancelation fee. They knew the contract was fraudulent when they sold it to me (I resistantly signed up for the contract because they were constantly calling me on the telephone, and were really getting on my nerves.). I do not believe they should be allowed to hold on to my entire $1962.38 payments submitted, with NO claims applied for . I received a note from the Atty. Gen. this week, stating they were going to contact the party again, but I needed to give them about another month to reply. I originally filed the complaint on Feb. 2, 2019. I believe they are still continuing to scam me!!
    If you believe you could be of service to me I would appreciate it if you would contact me.
    I truly believe these people should be put out of business.
    Patsy Tingley
    I would like to note that I am disabled now with severe knee problems, and my Dr. tells me Medicare has refused to assist me with payment for treatments. I sure could use this money now because I’ve been a working tax payer of 40 years, and still can’t collect on what I have worked for all these years!!! Of course, there have been many other disappointments and scammers in my life also, that I HAVE JUST HAD TO GET OVER IT!!

    Patsy Tingley

  3. Financial elder abuse will increase dramatically as insurance companies force our elders to give up their long term care due to the crushing premium increases they are receiving. The insurance companies and our states departments of insurance have failed to mitigate
    the financial problems the insurance companies created.

    There are about 600,000 policies in California alone. Shameful

    • Please check out and follow the current CalPers LTC lawsuit against the CalPers insurance company that promised to keep payments at the sign up level and then increased them 85% after selling thousands of policies.

  4. It is appalling how when you get older people don’t care anymore! Like you are already dead! Please do everything you can! If it wasn’t for older people younger people wouldn’t be here to treat you bad. Thank you

  5. Thank you for calling out she devils and wanna be warlocks for mistreating our elderly! Let them know someone is on the watch 24/7 and they will be prosecuted somehow-someway, someday!

  6. Older people, starting approximately in their forties, are abused when laid off simply for being older and earning larger benefits and paychecks. Insurance companies charge employers high premiums for covering older employees so employers hire few if not any older workers. It’s almost impossible to get another full-time job but part-time, minimum wage jobs without benefits are possible. Unfortunately, p/t paychecks do not cover food, clothing and shelter like f/t paychecks. This is when loss of home and homelessness usually takes place for older citizens. Many older Americans have lost their homes due to unemployment. Couple this with neglect from some children and the older citizen suffers even greater abuse. Many elderly are isolated, on their own, and must subsist on State and Federal programs.

    • Hello,

      Please contact your state Area Agency on Aging. This program was created by the federal Older Americans Act. They have many food, caregiver, and support programs for qualifying seniors.

  7. I’m 68 and have nothing left….helped anyone that needed it…I took care of my Mother for the last 8 years of her life and then moved on to help my Son and his children…NOW I don’t have anything left except $724.00 per month from SS. And you guessed it he’s trying to throw me out…doest care if I’m on the street. So yes I will be homeless with several chronic illnesses. I know nothing can be done to help me in this situation…so I’m just looking forward to the end…truelly…God bless

  8. My
    Mom was in a home, I called so much that they , the state of Texas, called me to ask me question. Received a bill, monthly charge, after she left us it was at least one year. My mother was a great bookkeeper . I called one time , no more. Billl. I wish I still had her. But I don’t . My time is coming, Surely my kids will say something if I show a sign of being abused. I think most kids care but don’t know their rights.

    • Hello,

      Passing on some advice for family and friends of an indigent senior. DO NOT IDENTIFY YOURSELF AS “THE RESPONSIBLE PERSON” ON BEHALF OF THE SENIOR. Watch carefully what you sign for on behalf of the senior. You should limit your relationship to “NEXT OF KIN” only.

  9. I was a victim of elder abuse for 8+ years. She is my brother’s live-in girlfriend. When he left on business trips, she would abuse me viciously. Physical, emotional, and verbal-she did it all! When I tried to tell my brother, his exact words to me were: “I don’t want to hear about it- she’s the one I picked!” I couldn’t afford to move. Finally, last year in March I couldn’t take any more. I tried to get help via phone for hours-police, National Suicide Prevention, senior citizens’ hotline. I had no way out & couldn’t take living with my abuser for another minute. I got in my car & went to my local pharmacy & bought razors. For the next 3 days, I sat in my car & cut my wrists & neck. During this time I had no food or drink & didn’t use a restroom. Eventually I needed to relieve myself but looked horrific so I didn’t want to go to any public facility. I then drove myself to a hospital ER & asked for help going to the restroom. I hadn’t eaten or drunk anything & had not gotten out of my car so I wasn’t certain my legs would hold me up. I never got to finish what I was there for when a nurse spotted me & I got whipped inside & my self-inflicted injuries addressed. My tendons were showing & the next day a plastic surgeon patched me up. Fast forward: after an extended hospital stay, I took out a personal loan, rented a U-Haul, & drove myself from NJ to NC, where I now reside. I was never able to get the preventative help I needed & I’m still bitter about it today. She had no repercussions for what she did to me. It had gotten so bad that I actually considered stabbing her to death while she slept! I’m 76 yo, a retired award-winning teacher,& had had not even a parking ticket but here I was contemplating murder but chose suicide instead. I wish that somehow I could help educate elders about this insidious crime by sharing my story & being a good listener. They’re still together.

  10. Consumer cellular targets the older consumer with cellular service. AARP Advertises this company for phone service $25 a month for unlimited Service plus fees totaling the monthly account to $28 per month. Sound good? To me it did until I was being charged extra for Internet service that was false/usage and then my bill went to $58 a month for using my Internet midnight to 6:00 AM. I am retired I do not get on my Internet on these hours. They explained that maybe I was watching podcasts or movies, I told them that I have records of them charging me while I was asleep. After sending them proof they said they would adjust my billing. They never did and 2 months later I was charged $58 again.
    Please investigate this company.

  11. Your programs are aimed at the middle class and above, as propaganda. You want them to think a certain way. Having been there I can see it from a previous prospective. I have always been self-sufficient. The little money/property I had has been given to supposed live ones.
    I have been taken to the curb. I will be on the street, homeless June 30th. Not the first time….she did it before. Now she has it all. My lovely Niece. Yep, still love her. I hope she “wake up”.
    So many low income rental programs. So many years long waiting lists.
    $300 a month rooms are now $800 or more.

  12. My request for assistance my case retirement pay my ssa income online deposit direct transfer to my account bangkok bank in new york brand! By USE IAT system oversees ,and bangkok bank pay to me in thailand!

  13. there is a fear “I am from the government, here to help you” then the bureaucracy kicks in in and it is to much for the elderly to deal with. If there is a way to reach out to an individual to discuss concerns without filing a complaint and getting tangled up in legal and potential self incriminating discussions, then the services would be much more useful. – Don Haggard

  14. My U.S. Bank manager at the Lyndale branch took away my privacy, my dignity, as well as affecting my own personal health when I called to inquire what I.Ds would be needed for a large check.. He started firing questions at me, not interested in the answers. Asking for information that is NONE of his business! Threatened to tell my children what I was doing, even though they aren’t in my life anymore. He threatened to tell my neighbors about it! To freeze all my accounts. I wound up hanging up on him. The next few nights I had nightmares and seizures started to return. I had to increase my Rx to stop that.
    I understand that governments around the world have red flags that banks watch for money laundering, but there must be a balance between a ONE TIME transfer of MY MONEY and illicit, illegal money transfers that are repeated over & over! I use a bank to keep thieves from taking my funds, not to hand over the control of my own funds to some stranger that thinks he can determine if it is a wise way to spend my money. If I want his opinion, I will ask, but he has NO RIGHT to tell me what to do with it. Only keep it from thieves. It woud be better to store it in my mattress!

  15. the sick and elderly are being abused by having pain medication withheld by organizations all around the country. they are withholding pain medication from cancer patients also. this is elder abuse, and it is because doctors nationwide are afraid of the DEA. DEA using scare tactics and telling doctors they are prescribing too much without looking into the diagnosis codes, the patients status, or of the patients are in nursing homes, hospice, or palliative care. if you want to help the abuse, read the HHS pain task force final report just published about the cdc guidelines being weaponized nationwide, the laws in every state to limit pain meds, etc. although cancer patients, chronically ill etc were supposed to be excluded, they are not. social media, and news reports nationally are reporting serious increases in suicide the elderly. this is unacceptable. anonymous

  16. Dear Mr Robertson et al at SSA,
    I hope this note finds You well
    Keep up the good work
    Best wishes always


    Joseph W Arabasz MD
    S/P USAF, Top Secret 1964-69
    University of Colorado at Boulder 1972, CU School of Medicine ’75, ’77, ’83
    Past Division Chairman, Anesthesiology, Cook County Hospital, Chicago, Illinois
    Past Chairman, Respiratory Therapy, Cook County Hospital, Chicago
    Diplomate ABA
    Sigma Xi, The Professional Science Research Society
    PO Box 6939
    Denver, CO 80206
    720-364-2265!categories/nutrition-jwamd (2001-2014 site closed/open)

  17. This is a touchy subject for me as I lost my husband in 2017 due to a combination of his care and lack of. I reported everything to ISDH and they combined my complaints with an upcoming survey. The nursing home basically thief hands slapped and had to write a policy on having a nurse super present when they evaluated a patient for a wound. He died not long after that skin and bones. They lied to me and on his records and there was nothing I could do to prove it. I talked to an attorney but because I did not take pictures of his bedsores or have an autopsy it would be s he said she said. He said there records said the bedsore at death was almost healed
    And the new nursing admin told me about 3 days before he died he hat if it got any worse I could kill him. Ii know he died of malnutrition dehydration and a serious infection on his hand plus his 3rd bedsore. At the time he was there my hip had deteriorated to bone one bone and I could barely walk. So there was not much I could do except go see him everyday make sure he ate and got water and near the end I couldn’t do that everyday because it became almost impossible to walk or drive. He was the best most honorable man you could meet. knew served in 3 years in the army then for the Pa fire dept then back to Indiana and retired from IPD after 20 years it destroyed me because I couldn’t do anything but watch. No one knows a thing about what really goes on in these places Unless you find yourself someday in a place like Harrison Terrace. He’s gone now and I know there was nothing I could do because of my own health but I’ll never forgive myself until the day I die. America needs to know horror stories happen and no one would believe you until it happens to someone in they love.

  18. This should be advertised almost daily!
    I’ve tried to reach out to SSA (social security Administrator) numerous times to make a report a few times a week, “no” luck. They never answer back.
    I’ve been watching this elderly lady get used, abused, neglected and her ssi check taken away from her every month for the last “25” years and she has lost “everything”she has ever owned, including her house! SSA did nothing for me!

  19. My thoughts on Elderal Abuse. Was a Registered Nurse and Geriatric Nurse Practioner for 50+ years
    before retiring age age 70 yrs old. I have seen
    much Elder Abuse in my career in Acute Care Hospitals, community, even siblings on each side of their alert and very aware Mother’s money. I personally told them to leave and no visitation rights without supervision of “ Mother’s right for
    Dignity “. There are many Elderly Abuses being allowed by the USA! I discovered 3 weeks ago..
    after being directed by the Medicare HMO I pay
    $200.00 a month.. to change to a ( new) in June 2019 preferred Pharmacy. . One of my medications
    looked totally different.. Shape/ color etc. Bottle saie yellow.. was white oval pill. Called the new
    Pharmacist.. he researched the (fillers added by the pharmaceutical company of the brand .. the
    pharmacy has in stock) Gluten and Dairy!!!
    Manufacturers have no regulations/ oversight/ nor
    requirements to list the fillers ingredients!!! I have
    Systemic autoimmunity Disorders /Disease. After 3
    pills of this different Generic medication.. I am very ill with the worst Inflammatory Flair up crisis have had in 5 yrs! Have been Gluten frree for 10 yrs/
    Dairy free for 5 years. Geriatrics are not the only people who have severe reactions to Gluten and Dairy! So this is not only Ederley Abuse; Abuse to
    all people with severe reactions to hidden substances to innocent trusting people who do not know the Pharmaceutical ( prescriptions) are making them sicker! I do not have much confidence this message will be read nor anything will be done about the Phamaiceuical Industry that is in control of the Government. But I am convinced will not be putting anymore poisoness
    Pharmaceutical products into my body.. Have a determination to live a bit longer to experience the Joys of my Beautiful Children and Grandchildren!
    Reba A Ridgeway

  20. Under the Older Americans Act of 1965 the nursing home Ombudsmen program was created as was the rights of nursing home residents. These and other programs that helped elderly across the nation were closed by the administrations starting in the 90’s.

  21. My partner and I have been in, North Port since 10-18, due to the death of a relitive.
    We are both on Social security, & find it hard, to make ends meet.
    I have reached out to, every, local, county, state, government, & private organizations, (that I have knowledge of), for any type of resource, that might be able to help us, get back on our feet, after several,(unfortunant)
    events,(for the most part), happened because we were, either victims, scammed,
    or some other event, that was illegal!
    We don’t have a vehicle, & my spouse can’t walk.
    We use a cab, when we have to go somewhere, & alot of times, we just can’t afford to do things!
    When we call,& try to reach out for help, they say,” all we can do is provide #’s, we can’t physically do anything?
    Right now, our air conditioning quit working,
    along with the Ice maker in our refrigerator.
    We can’t afford to repair them.?
    When I try to reach out for help, no one can do anything.

    • Hi, Peter. We are sorry to hear about your situation. You may be eligible to receive social services from the state in which you live. These services include free meals, housekeeping help, transportation, or help with other problems. To get information about services in your area and find out if you qualify, you will need to contact your state or local social services or welfare office. We hope this helps!

  22. this problem has been on going for far to long when I reached 75 yrs I see it more and most people could care less about us I tend to see first hand not only in my family but others what needs to happen is more people needs to be punished for their actions .

  23. What if elder abuse is perpetrated by your neighbor. . .B&E. Burglary, food . . .beverage. . .other items stolen. . . you name it. . .constant violation of personal privacy, civil rights, property rights. . .attaching/hacking into/droning your property/utilities e.g., I have Consumer Energy meter tags and high electric/gas bills as evidence. And because you are old and black. . .nothing is done when police are call. . .instead you are labeled “delusional.” It is no delusion when your food other goods disappear out of your home. As soon as you are out. . .someone is in. Please get them to stop. . .that is all I ask. . .I want my house back so that I can clean it back up, and sit and relax while school is out (yes, I still get out and guest teach) rated very highly by schools. . .sleep at night unencumbered.

  24. My wife and myself are abuse victims of a twelve year old adopted girl. No therapy or behavioral hospital programs have worked. We are threatened and verbally cursed out regularly. She refuses to take medication that has been prescribed. We have notified our local police and SSAS but to no avail. Please, any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

  25. Hello! I am 61 years old and live in rural county since August 2017. Relatives invited me out to live and try to find work. I moved out here also because it seems to be better for my health. Almost from the beginning my personal items began to get stolen. It started out with little things, toilet paper, tooth paste, body wash swapped out for inferior brands, but soon escalated to my clothing, and medication. I know it is my relatives. I moved, did not tell them where i was moving but I received a text message from one of them and foolishly I answered it. 12 hours later, my belongings began to get stolen again. It was then I realized that the locations settings on my phone and computer act as a tracking device, this is how they found me. I turned off the location settings and moved again. Three weeks later, I was again being robbed.
    since moving here I have had to buy 8 different wardrobes because they eventually steal all my clothes. These are two young women in their 30’s. I approached their parents who immediately started treating me as if I was the problem. I know the mother, who is my niece, has not discouraged them, and has on at least a few occasions encouraged them to steal from me. The police are corrupt, and so are most people who live here. In fact, methamphetamine is a huge problem here.
    At night, they break into my house while I am asleep and steel my inhaler, they actually swap it out for one that is empty or very near to being so; they steal my prednisone which I take for extreme asthma attacks; my toiletries, such as tooth paste, toilet paper, dish washing liquid, etc. The wort thing is they will destroy my furniture, either by cutting it up in increments or buying something else and swapping it out for what I have. I can send you pictures of what I mean.
    My question is, what can I do in this situation? I have just gotten a promotion on my job, so moving out of the state is not really an option.
    I will be moving again and am thinking baout getting a weapon to protect myself.

  26. Too bad it seems contradictory based on the abusive online experience of enrolling for seniors. They get blamed for bad programming if an error occurs and then even though they correctly answer security questions and set the account up, they are told to go in to prove all over again. It’s abusive to keep a person waiting 2 months and longer to find out details.The trauma of being told they’re not getting their card and being told they didn’t apply when in fact the site says so is very abusive, just knowing that as a senior one has to live without healthcare all because of the mistakes that ssa makes. And seniors can’t help but wonder, this is only the beginning. What will it be like under Medicare. Well they still haven’t fixed the error so yes I am among those who has to live without Medicare unless some kind hearted director tells them to go easy on seniors and process that enrollment in a humane way.

  27. Very interesting discussion!! I think that you should write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but generally people are not enough to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers

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