Seniors Safety Line

Toll-free: 1-866-299-1011

24/7 150 languages

Signs and Symptoms of Elder Abuse - Signs and Behaviours

Not all signs and symptoms (behaviours) of abuse are physically visible on the

outside; abuse can also cause emotional, financial and social symptoms that may

not be easily identified at first.  These symptoms or changes may occur suddenly

or gradually, and may be unexplained.  If these symptoms occur with no explanation,

the possibility that abuse is occurring should be considered and explored.


Signs of Physical Abuse :

• Lacerations

• Bite marks

• Bruises

• Burns

• Fractures

• Swelling

• Restricted or guarded movement

• Repeated falls

• Internal injuries


Signs of Emotional (Psychological) Abuse

• Isolation

• Withdrawal

• Depression

• Anxiety

• Fear of family members, friends, or caregiver

• Low self-esteem

• Agitation

• Difficulty sleeping or excessive sleep

• Withdrawal

• Passivity

• Resignation

• Weepy

• Feelings of hopelessness/helplessness

• Unexplained fear (especially around caregiver)

• Significant change in weight

• Verbally aggressive, threatening or insulting to

• Shows unusual amount of concern over older adult

• Speaks for older adult and doesn’t permit involvement

• Reluctant to leave older adult alone with other people]


Signs of Financial Abuse

• Misuse of power of attorney

• Missing personal belongings (jewellery, antiques)

• Unusual withdrawals from bank account

• Forgery

• Large amounts of debt with no recollection of having used services

• Selling an older adults home without their knowledge/consent


Signs of Sexual Abuse

• Genital infections

• Pain in genital area

• Bruising

• Bleeding in genital area

• Inappropriate sexual comments

• Signs of physical restraint


Signs of Neglect


• Emaciated, malnourished, or dehydrated

• Confused

• Inappropriate or inadequately dressed

• Under or over medicated

• Unkempt appearance

• Open sores

• Poor hygiene


Home Environment:

• In a state of disrepair

• Smell of urine or feces in the home

• Lack of required safety precautions in the home

• Lack of needed assistive devices (walker, wheelchair, cane)



• Left unattended when requiring assistance

• Medical appointments are frequently cancelled or not attended


Caregiver signs of abuse

• Verbally aggressive, threatening or insulting to

• Shows unusual amount of concern over older adult

• Speaks for and doesn’t permit older adult's involvement

• Reluctant to leave older adult alone with other people


Older adults have the right to make choices. There are times we are concerned

about the actions and decisions taken by older adults that you feel are inappropriate

or cause you concern for their well-being. It is important to know, that adults, no

matter what age, have the right to make their own decision if they are mentally

capable of understanding their decision and the consequences of their choices.

The following are a few examples of situations which can cause someone to be

concerned about an older adult, but may not be and abusive situation:


• An older adult chooses to give money or gifts to a to a person they are in a new

  relationship with

• An older adult choosing to live in "spare" conditions even though they could afford

  more or is not an environment that you would live in.




  What is Elder Abuse

Site Design by The Creative Link