What is Elder Abuse?
In general, elder abuse refers to intentional or neglectful acts by a caregiver or “trusted” individual that lead to, or may lead to, harm of a vulnerable elder. In many cases, younger adults with disabilities may qualify for the same services and protections. Physical abuse; neglect; emotional or psychological abuse; financial abuse and exploitation; sexual abuse; and abandonment are considered forms of elder abuse. In many states, self-neglect is also considered mistreatment.
Who is at Risk?
Elder abuse can occur anywhere — in the home, in nursing homes, other institutions. It affects seniors across all socio-economic groups, cultures, and races.
Based on available information, women and “older” elders are more likely to be victimized. Dementia is a significant risk factor. Mental health and substance abuse issues — of both abusers and victims — are risk factors. Isolation can also contribute to risk.
What should I do if I Suspect Abuse?
Most cases of elder abuse go undetected. Don’t assume that someone has already reported a suspicious situation. The agency receiving the report will ask what you observed, who was involved, and who they can contact to learn more.
You do not need to prove that abuse is occurring; it is up to the professionals to investigate the suspicions.
To report suspected abuse in the community, contact your local Adult Protective Services agency. The Erie County Adult Protective Services phone number is 858-6877.
To report abuse or neglect in a nursing home or other facility, please contact the New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Center at (518) 549-0200.
The Vulnerable Persons Central Register (VPCR) Hotline toll-free number is 1-855-373-2122.