Elder Abuse

Elder Abuse and its Effects

As many as one in seven seniors nationwide experiences elder abuse, usually at the hands of a family member. In some cases, the senior winds up penniless. In others, the senior loses his or her home.

Statistics suggest that abused seniors are three times more likely to die within the next decade than other seniors of the same age. Still, most elder abuse goes unreported. Your caregiver may be stealing from you, beating you or simply leaving you stranded in your own bed. You may be afraid of what will happen if you tell someone. But help is available. Turn your situation around before it gets worse.

What is elder abuse?

Elder abuse is an umbrella term referring to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult. It can take the form of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, financial or material exploitation, neglect, self-neglect or abandonment. It might be physical violence, isolation or a caregiver’s neglect. It could be identity theft, or the theft or embezzlement of a senior’s property. (A.R.S. §13-3623 and A.R.S. § 46-451)

What should I do if I suspect someone is abusing or exploiting an elderly friend?

If you suspect that abuse, neglect or exploitation is occurring in your friend’s home, call the Adult Protective Services (APS) Hotline at (877) SOS-ADULT (767-2385) TDD: (877) 815-8390. (A.R.S. §§ 46-451 et seq.)

If you suspect that the abuse is occurring in a licensed long-term care facility, such as a nursing home, contact your local long-term care Ombudsman. To locate the Ombudsman, call (800) 872-2879. Your report will be confidential, and you can remain anonymous. (A.R.S. §§ 46-452.01, 452.02)

You can also order the Senior Citizen’s Protection Manual, produced by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. For a free copy of this guide, call (602) 542-2123 or (866) 358-6661 (outside Maricopa County) or visit visit the Attorney General's Office on-line.  (go to Publications and Seniors).

Am I required to report suspected elder abuse?

Arizona Revised Statue § 46-454 requires those having the responsibility for the care of an incapacitated or vulnerable adult or has been given responsibility of a specific area of the adults concerns (medical, financial, legal, etc) and has a reasonable basis to believe that abuse or neglect has occurred or that exploitation of that adult’s property has occurred he/she must immediately report or cause reports to be made of such reasonable basis.

What will happen if someone finds out that my grown child is hurting me?

It is against the law for anyone to hurt or abuse you. There are organizations to help you in this situation. Call (800) 799-7233 or (800) 787-3224 (TTY)

Is domestic violence the same as elder abuse?

Elder abuse is included under the domestic violence definition when the abuse is coming from someone sharing your home as a partner or a relative (child, grandchild, sister, etc.).

Elder abuse also includes any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult. The abuse may fall into one or several different types: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, financial or material exploitation, neglect or abandonment.

What can I do to protect myself from an abusive caregiver or spouse?

There is help for you. Tell someone. There are organizations to help you in this situation. Call (800) 799-7233 or (800) 787-3224 (TTY) if you want to talk about getting help. If you are in immediate danger call 911. If you do not have a phone, tell a neighbor, your doctor, or someone you can trust to get you the help you need.

Examples Of Abuse  

  • Your caregiver or a “new friend” persuades you to sign a power of attorney so that he can handle your affairs for you, and then sells your home for the cash.
  • Malnourished and covered with bedsores, you lie stranded in your own bedroom while your live-in son is busy emptying your bank accounts.
  • A home repairman persuades you to pay cash on the spot for a “great” home improvement deal—and then fails to do any work. 
  • You forget to take your medication and a nursing home staff member slaps you in the face.



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This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.