Elder Abuse is any action or inaction that results in harm or threatened harm to the health or welfare of a senior. It involves coercive control which can include: financial exploitation, emotional, physical abuse or neglect.
Every year an estimated 2.1 million older Americans are victims of abuse and neglect. For every reported case of abuse it is estimated that 5 or more cases go unreported.
- Female over the age of 80
- Isolation and/or dependence on caregivers
- Physical or mental impairment
- History of mental illness
- Personal or family history of abuse
General Signs of Abuse
The following are some of the warning signs for elder abuse:
- Changes in personality or behavior, withdrawn, passive or fearful especially around their caregiver
- Delay in seeking medical treatment, unkempt appearance, dirty or inappropriate clothing, missing dentures, glasses, hearing aid
- Discrepancy between income and standard of living
- Unavailability to visitors or callers, visits monitored by caregiver
- Missing checks, income or possessions, changes in will, power of attorney or policies
- Unexplained or frequent injuries or broken bones
Types of Elder Abuse
Financial exploitation – Theft, fraud, misuse or neglect of authority and use of undue influence to gain control of an older person’s money or property
Neglect – A caregiver’s failure or refusal to provide for a vulnerable elder’s safety, physical or emotional needs
Self Neglect – An inability to understand the consequences of one’s own actions or inaction, which leads to, or may lead to, harm or endangerment.
Emotional Abuse – Verbal attacks, threats, rejection, isolation, or belittling acts that cause or could cause mental anguish, pain or distress to a senior
Physical Abuse – Use of force to threaten or physically injure a vulnerable elder
Sexual Abuse – Sexual contact that is forced, tricked, threatened, or coerced upon a vulnerable elder, including anyone who is unable to give consent
If you suspect elder abuse, here are some Albany County agencies and programs you can talk to anonymously about your concerns:
If someone is in immediate danger, call 911 or the local police for immediate help.
Albany County Adult Protective Services—serves anyone 18 years or older, regardless of income who are in danger of being mistreated or neglected and are unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves from harm. Casework staff will investigate reports, assess for risk, develop a care plan, assist with sup portative services and take legal action if warranted. Adult Protective Services can be contacted by calling Albany County NY-Connects at (518)-447-7177.
Equinox Elder Abuse Project—provides counseling, case management, shelter, and legal advocacy to elder victims of domestic abuse. Call (518) 434–6135. www.equinoxinc.org/services.html
S.A.L.T. Seniors and Law Enforcement Together— the Albany County District Attorney has organized a Senior Citizen Advisory Council to address issues related to adult abuse and crimes against the elderly. To talk to one of the Adult Abuse Staff members call (518)447-7258. http://www.albanycountyda.com/initiatives/salt.html
Albany County Department for Aging’s Elder Law Attorney - through Legal Aid of Northeastern New York can provide Albany County seniors with legal advice and representation on civil legal issues including abuse neglect or exploitation. CLICK HERE
for more information about this program.
Albany County Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center - The goal of the agency is to provide crisis counseling to rape victims over a 24 hour hotline at (518)-447-7716, and to provide advocacy and support for victims. For more information call 447-5500 or CLICK HERE.
Additional resources and information:
The New York State Attorney General's website: www.oag.state.ny.us has information and downloadable guides on a variety of topics including: crime victims' rights, health care proxy, identity theft, consumer tips, credit issues, tenant's rights, and tips on choosing a health care plan. To contact the AG's office, call (518) 474-7330.
The Administration on Aging’s National Center on Elder Abuse website: www.ncea.aoa.gov provides comprehensive information about elder abuse. It helps define the forms of abuse, statistics, and has information on how to help, the laws protecting seniors.
911 Cell phone- Did you know the FCC mandates that any used/charged cell phones can call 911 operator in case of emergency (even if phone is not receiving service)? Call Albany County Department for Aging at (518) 447-7177 to receive a free phone.