Older people today are more visible, more active and more independent than ever before. They are living longer and are in better health. As the population of older Americans grows, so does the hidden problem of abuse, exploitation and neglect.

How to protect yourself

  • Plan for your own future when you are well and still independent. You have rights and planning for future will assist you with your continued independence.
  • Stay active in your community for as long as possible. Having a network of support is important
  • Make a will and review it annually. This will ensure that your wishes are met as you get older.
  • Understand there is no single pattern of abuse later in life. Abuse is a continuation of long-standing patterns of violence and physical, emotional or financial abuse within the family.
  • Know that most abuse later in life and neglect takes place at home. About 95 percent of older people live on their own or with their spouses, children, siblings or other relatives not in institutional settings.


  • Every year, an estimated four million older Americans are victims of physical, psychological or other forms of abuse and neglect.
  • Over a million Americans over the age of 65 have been subjected to physical brutality, psychological abuse, sexual assault, or financial exploitation by an individual tasked with their care and support.
  • The most common type of abuse experienced by adults later in life is neglect, closely followed by psychological and financial abuse