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Care and Awareness Towards Elder Abuse

Care and Awareness Towards Elder Abuse

The following article with corresponding video was made by our 2023 scholarship winner, Mayani Vela.

‘Golden Years’ are a path everyone wants to reach, where we can proudly flaunt senior discounts, on clothing, movies, or haggling skills at yard sales. From the perspective of where most people are now, these years seem far ahead, where we romanticize their reality without fully being prepared for what will happen when growing into old age.

According to NORC, about 88% of Americans wish to grow old in their own household or a household of a loved one, and only 2% wish to be taken care of in a nursing home.

Unfortunately, it often becomes more difficult for the elderly to control their own decisions as they age, forcing them to place their trust in others for their care. Misplacing that trust, or the difficulties of circumstances can lead to warranted or unwarranted abuse. Contrary to most wishes, about 2.6 million elders reside in a nursing home or facilitated living center of some kind.

The Many Forms of Elder Abuse

Elderly abuse is not black or white – it can be seen in many different forms. Most places, including the American Psychological Association, categorize elder abuse by:

  • Physical abuse : Inflicting pain or injury even by form of punishment
  • Psychological abuse : Coercive or threatening behavior that sets up a power differential
  • Sexual abuse :  Forced sexual behavior or harassment
  • Financial abuse : Mismanagement of elders finances or purposefully abusing authority over the elder’s finances 
  • Caregiver neglect : Failing to meet the needs of the elder as in assistance in providing basic necessities

My Personal Story with Assisted Living Facilities

My grandmother was diagnosed with dementia, when she knew she could not live by herself for much longer. My family was deciding whether it was better for her to be cared for at an assisted living facility or our own house. It was a difficult choice for them to make going back and forth on what was more practical to what she needed. Housing her in an assisted facility meant that she would have someone who was trained and worked specifically in assisting elderly. It would also create a gap between her and our family.

Housing your loved one in an assisted living facility is a practical decision for relatives who do not have the privilege to take care of their loved ones from home.

Often elders are in a different setting behind closed doors at a facility and sometimes a home. Abuse in these facilities goes overlooked because staff have to look over several residences that their cases are never heard or looked into. Or they are given the proper attention needed because nurses are focused primarily on the well-being of several residents.

My family chose to take care of our grandmother from our house. We were fortunate enough to have somebody who could take care of her during the day and we would be there with her at the end of the day. We all did our best, especially my mom to care for my grandmother the way she should have been taken care of. We talked to her, watched tv with her, played with her, it was important that she felt safe and herself in our household.

Recognizing and Reporting Elder Abuse

It could be hard to recognize abuse and even more challenging to report it – whether it be in a household of a loved one or a facility as someone ‘on the outside’. However, it is always best to speak out to help an elder get the care they need.

Infographic on the signs of elder abuse in 2024.

If you are concerned as an outsider or as a caregiver you can find help by reaching out to:

If you yourself are an elderly citizen who is being abused, find help by reaching:

Furthermore as a victim of elderly abuse and neglect, you can reach out for legal action and justice. As people get older, their voices get quieter…FALSE. Everyone has a voice that deserves to be heard and should get louder when it needs to. Peck Law Group wants to hear those voices to seek help and justice for elderly folks who are experiencing abuse and neglect.

If you are not a victim, voice your solidarity towards them and educate yourself on helping them fight for their rights. Celebrate on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15. Fight and help to build a better tomorrow for your grandparents or for yourselves when you are in their footsteps.


Elder abuse: How to spot warning signs, get help, and report mistreatment (apa.org)

LTC_Report_AgingatHome_final.pdf (apnorc.org)

Elder Abuse in Residential Long-Term Care Settings: What Is Known and What Information Is Needed? – Elder Mistreatment – NCBI Bookshelf (nih.gov)

About the Author

Mayani Vela is our 2023 elder abuse scholarship winner.

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