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Elder Abuse

What is elder abuse?

  • Elder abuse occurs when someone willfully causes injury, intimidation, or punishment that results in physical harm, pain or mental anguish.

Who is at risk for elder abuse?

  • Anyone in a long-term care facility such as a nursing home can be a victim of abuse, but those age 80 or older, especially women, are at greater risk.

Are there different types of elder abuse?

  • Yes. They include verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, and misappropriation of the resident's property.

Who is likely to be an abuser?

  • The abuser is typically a family member, spouse or caregiver.
  • In settings such as nursing homes or group homes, professional caregivers may be the abuser.

What signs should we look for if we suspect that loved ones are a victim of elder abuse in a nursing or personal care home?

  • Look for physical injury such as questionable bruises, cuts, burns or rope marks, broken bones or sprains.
  • Look for neglect: substandard physical care such as dehydration, malnourishment, weight loss, pressure sores and unmet medical needs.

Is elder abuse limited to physical abuse?

  • No. It can include mental abuse. Look for unusual behavior or changes in emotional state. Victims may be agitated, withdrawn, or exhibit fear or anxiety.

What is property abuse?

  • Belongings that have been deliberately misplaced or wrongfully used by a caregiver.
  • This can be missing money, credit card misuse, or use of personal phones or other personal items without the resident's consent.

What should one do if they suspect a loved one is a victim of elder abuse?

  • If the abuse is taking place in a long-term care facility, the Mississippi Department of Health has a toll-free number to report suspected abuse: 1-800-227-7308.

What happens when the alleged abuse is reported?

  • The Mississippi Department of Health will thoroughly investigate any and all reports of abuse in any long-term care facility in Mississippi.
This page last reviewed on Mar 7, 2006 report errors on this page e-mail email this page print print 
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