Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is defined by physical, emotional, or sexual harm inflicted upon an older adult, their financial exploitation, or neglect of their welfare by people who are directly responsible for their care.

Crimes against elders often go unreported, presenting a high temptation for potential offenders.  Elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation can be stopped with the right resources and intervention.

Signs of elder abuse include:

  • Person lacks basic hygiene, adequate food or clean, appropriate clothing
  • Person lives in a home that is cluttered, filthy, or in disrepair
  • Person exhibits unexplained or uncharacteristic changes in behavior
  • Person has unexplained fractures, bruises, welts, cuts, sores or burns
  • Person has unexplained sexually transmitted disease(s)
  • Person with dementia is left unsupervised
  • Person is confined to bed without care and/or has untreated “bed” sores
  • Person’s money is controlled by caregiver, but caregiver is failing to provide for the individual’s needs
  • Person is isolated by a caregiver 
  • Caregiver is verbally aggressive or demeaning to the person

Rhode Island law requires you to report suspected abuse, self-neglect or exploitation of an elder. All Rhode Islanders are mandatory reporters. Reports can be filed anonymously. If you suspect someone over the age of 60 is a survivor of elder abuse, please call and make a report 24/7 at (401) 462-0555 anytime. If you believe the person is in immediate danger, please call 911.

For more information about preventing elder abuse, please visit the Office of Healthy Aging, call 401-462-0555 and download this fact sheet.