Millions of elderly people in the United States are subjected to Elder Abuse each year. Whether such abuse occurs in their own homes, assisted living facilities or nursing home facilities, it is important to be able to identify signs of abuse that your loved one might be exhibiting. Identifying potential signs of abuse can help you and your family protect your loved one from their abuser. This article will focus on the signs and symptoms of Elder Abuse. For more details on the different types of elder abuse, you can read our previous article on the topic here.

Common Signs of Abuse

While there are various forms of Elder Abuse, there are some signs of general abuse that you should be on the lookout for. Often, one of the most common signs of abuse is that an elderly person will become tense and quiet when their abuser is in the room. You may notice that your loved one changes their behavior or looks fearful when a certain aide enters their room. Sudden weight loss, lack of appetite and poor hygiene are all common signs that can occur with any form of abuse.

Physical Abuse

Physical Elder Abuse can refer to inflicting physical harm on an elderly person. Physical abuse is often the easiest to spot. Bruises, cuts, broken bones and other wounds are common. Bruises around the wrists from restraints are not uncommon. Torn or bloodied clothing and broken personal items may also indicate signs of abuse.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual Elder Abuse carries many of the same signs as physical abuse. Wounds are often closer to the elderly person’s genital area or breasts. Bleeding in genital area or bloody undergarments are often cited as signs of sexual abuse.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional Abuse refers to acts of humiliation, intimidation, terrorization, et cetera. Emotional abuse can be hard to spot if you do not remain vigilant. Depression, anxiety and isolation are common symptoms for victims of emotional elder abuse.


Neglect can carry a lot of the same symptoms as emotional abuse, but for different reasons. Neglect refers to ignoring the elder and their needs, isolating them, and more. Signs of neglect may include untreated bed sores, pale complexion and isolation. Fleas, lice, and other dirty conditions in their room or home can also be signs of neglect.

Financial Abuse

Financial Abuse refers to taking advantage of an elderly person’s assets and funds. Signs of Financial Abuse include stolen money, forged checks, money transfers, theft of heirlooms and identity theft. An abuser might force or coerce a victim into altering a Will to include them.

If you or a loved one is being abused, seek assistance. Legal action may be needed to recover stolen assets or for reparations. Speak with your elder law attorney.

The AARP, the National Center for Elder Abuse (NCEA), as well as a number of other organizations have resources for victims including the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office to help with accepting and overcoming the trauma of Elder Abuse.

For more than 40 years, our firm has been assisting people like you with long term care and estate planning needs. We bring you the knowledge and resources to protect you and your family. Armstrong & Lamberti, PLLC does not provide tax, legal, medical or accounting advice by articles. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, tax, legal, medical, or accounting advice. Call 718.477.7700 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation with an estate planning attorney at Armstrong & Lamberti, PLLC. We proudly serve Staten Island, Brooklyn and the other boroughs of New York City.