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What You Need To Know About Elder Abuse

In partnership with Greater Lynn Senior Services, Older Battered Women's Program

What is elder abuse?

Elder abuse refers to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person, that willfully or through negligence causes a senior harm or creates a serious risk of harm, including...
  • Physical-Threatening or inflicting physical pain or injury, or depriving a basic need.
  • Emotional-Inflicting mental pain, anguish or distress by verbal/nonverbal acts.
  • Sexual-Non-consensual sexual contact.
  • Exploitation-Taking, misusing, or concealing funds, property or assets.
  • Neglect-Failure by caregivers to provide food, shelter, and/or medical care.
  • Abandonment-Desertion of a senior by a caretaker.

What are the warning signs of elder abuse?

The following are signs that abuse may be occurring:

  • Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, and burns.
  • Bruises or bleeding around the genitals or breasts.
  • Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, and unusual weight loss.
  • Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness and unusual depression.
  • Behavior such as belittling, threats, and other uses of power and control by the spouse or caregiver.
  • Sudden changes in financial situation.

Chapter 19A, Section 18 of Massachusetts law requires Council on Aging directors, health care professionals, police and other public safety officials to report elder abuse. However,
anyone who suspects abuse should report it. All reports are confidential.

What happens when elder abuse is reported?

Senior abuse often goes unreported because the victim is embarrassed, ashamed or dependent on the abuser in some way. It is important to remember that elder care service providers will work with the victim to determine what services will alleviate or end the abuse. A victim's rights and wishes will always be respected.

What services are available?

Senior care agencies offer services:

In the Home

  • Bilingual Services
  • Home Visits
  • Home Delivered Meals
  • Homemaker/Health Aide Services
  • Money Management

In the Community

  • Housing
  • Senior Centers and Socialization
  • Transportation

In a Crisis

  • Counseling
  • Family Intervention
  • Legal Assistance
  • Safety Planning

Are you or someone you know…

  • Isolated?
  • Not eating?
  • Unable to pay bills?
  • Unable to get needed medical care?
  • Neglecting personal hygiene or appearance?
  • Bruised, burned or physically hurt?
  • Afraid or confused?

It may be difficult to ask for help but YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Remember that abuse is wrong and never your fault.

Help is available...

Executive Office of Elder Affairs
Elder Abuse Hotline
(24 hours) 1-800-922-2275

Elder Services of
Merrimack Valley, Lawrence
978-683-7747 or 1-800-892-0890

Attorney General's Elder Hotline

Greater Lynn Senior Services

Senior Care, Gloucester

North Shore Elder Services,Danvers

Or contact your local senior center, Council on Aging or Police Department

In an emergency call 911

Services are available to all seniors regardless of income level