Are you being hurt or harmed in any way?
Understanding and Preventing Mistreatment of Older Adults
No one deserves to be hurt or harmed in any way. But mistreatment of older adults, often called “elder abuse and neglect” or “financial exploitation,” is all too common. Learn about mistreatment of older adults and how to keep yourself or a loved one safe.
Who is likely to cause harm to an older adult?
- A spouse or dating partner
- A relative
- A friend
- A caregiver
In what ways can older adults be mistreated?
Physical – may include slapping, hitting, pushing, withholding or giving the wrong medications, or denying aids necessary for daily life (e.g., dentures, eyeglasses, and hearing aids).
Emotional – may include threatening, insulting, ignoring or isolation.
Financial – may include theft, fraud, secretly spending someone’s money, pressuring them to give over control of money or property, or scams (e.g., people who offer to work for cash in advance but don’t do the job).
Neglect – may include leaving a senior without food, shelter, medical assistance or personal care.
Sexual – any forced or non-consensual sexual contact.
As an older adult, what can you do to protect yourself or be safer?
- Stay active within your community.
- Keep in regular contact with friends and family.
- Tell someone, such as a trusted family member, friend or member of the clergy if you are being harmed or neglected.
- Be aware if the people around you have a history of abuse or violent behavior and tell someone if you are fearful.
- Seek medical attention and tell your doctor if someone is hurting you.
- Don’t sign important documents until someone you trust reads them.
- Don’t share your social security number, credit card numbers or financial information with people you don’t know and trust.
What can family and friends do to help protect older adults?
- Treat them with respect and support.
- Visit an older adult often. Being alone can make things worse. Speak with him or her in private.
- If something looks or sounds wrong to you, talk to him or her about your concerns.
- Be observant and listen carefully.
- Report any suspected abuse, neglect, or if someone is not taking care of him or herself.
Who should you call for help?
Police – Abuse or mistreatment may be a crime. If it is an emergency or could be dangerous, call 911.
Adult Protective Services – If you need protection or know someone who does, find the number for your local Adult Protective Services office within the Department of Social Services.
The number can also be obtained by calling 1-800-342-3009 (press option 6) or visit the New York State Office of Children and Family Service website.
For general information about elder abuse and programs for older adults, contact:
NYS Office for the Aging, Senior Citizen Helpline: 1-800-342-9871
NYS Office of Children and Family Services, Bureau of Adult Services: 518-402-6513
For information about elder abuse and domestic violence, contact:
NYS Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline: 1-800-942-6906
English & Español, Multi-language Accessibility
National Relay Service for Deaf or Hard of Hearing: 711
NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence: 518-457-5800
[Graphic: NYS Seal]
State of New York
Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor
Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence