Learn about Elder Abuse


Each year hundreds of thousands of older persons are abused, neglected and exploited by family members and others. There are three basic categories of elder abuse: domestic elder abuse, institutional elder abuse and self-neglect or self-abuse.


  • Physical Abuse - Is the use of force causing harm or pain to an individual, which includes but not limited to) hitting, kicking, pinching, slapping, shoving, shaking, and burning. Other forms of physical abuse involve the inappropriate use of medication or physical restraints.
  • Financial Abuse/Exploitation - Involves wrongfully taking or using an older adult’s funds or property through theft, scams, fraud, or predatory lending.
  • Psychological Abuse - Causing emotional pain through verbal assaults, threats, or harassment. Perpetrators intimidate, humiliate, or attempt to isolate their victims.
  • Sexual Abuse - Is non-consensual sexual contact of any kind including, contact with an individual unable to consent to such contact - for instance, if they suffer from dementia and are unable to understand.
  • Neglect - Is an individual failing to meet the needs of an older adult who is under their care. This includes not providing essential things a person needs, such as food, water, shelter, clothing, or personal hygiene.
  • Self-Neglect - Involves failure of a person to meet vital self care needs, putting them at risk of harm for their safety and/or health.
  • Domestic violence - Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive behavior characterized by the domination and control of one person over another, usually an intimate partner, through physical, psychological, emotional, verbal, sexual, and/or economic abuse.

To report suspected abuse or to get help…

In the community

  • Call 1-800-91-PREVENT (917-7383); or,
  • Contact the Local Adult Protective Services (APS)
  • Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence 1-800-MD-HELPS

In Nursing Homes or Assisted Living Facilities

Related Links

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