Elder Abuse Myths and Facts

Letting someone come into your home and trusting them to take care of yourself or a loved one can understandably be scary. While quality caregivers provide reliable nonmedical homecare with compassion and professionalism, some individuals take advantage of older adults and their family members. This is a good reason to consider hiring from an accredited agency that vets its employees.

Myth #1: Elder Abuse is Always Physical Violence

There are many forms of abuse: physical, emotional/psychological, sexual, and financial. Neglect is a serious violation when it comes to senior care, since many adults require life-saving medications and/or assistance with daily tasks. Learn the warning signs and reach out to isolated seniors in your community.

Myth #2: If An Adult Is Being Abused, He or She Will Report It Themselves

Anyone can be the victim of abuse – even headstrong, sharp-witted, tough people can be misled and mistreated. Abusers are often manipulative. There are many reasons for silence surrounding abuse. Many times, abused individuals blame themselves for the abuser’s behavior. Abusers may take advantage of a person’s cognitive or physical state to get away with their behavior. If you suspect abuse, reach out.

Myth #3: Adult Protective Services Can Remove Adults From Their Homes

People who abuse seniors depend on adults believing that they will be forced to move out or sell their homes if reports of abuse are substantiated. This is not true, as long as the person is capable of making informed decisions. Around the country, adult protective services prioritize self-determination. Whether or not you move to an assisted living facility is up to you and your physician.

Myth #4: Strangers or Hired Help Are Usually the Perpetrators

More than two-thirds of people who abuse elders are related to the victim. While there is no excuse for abuse or neglect, caregiver stress sometimes causes relatives to lash out. Other times, complicated family relationships can be a barrier to compassionate care.

Whatever the circumstances, there is help. Start with this state by state resource guide if you are the victim of abuse or suspect abuse in your community.