What do I do if I suspect elder mental abuse?

Bonnie Lynn Wright, PhD
Geriatrics Nursing
A difficult circumstance if the elder in question is living at home or with the abuser rather than in a licensed facility. This generally involves family dynamics and relationships that may have gone unchallenged for decades. If this is a longstanding problem, the elders may not be able to speak up in their own defense, making resolution of the problem even more difficult. 
You could go the formal route as outlined in the STTI response, an excellent response. Or, in this example, you could try to be more informal to begin with. Consult the elder's healthcare provider with your suspicions to raise their awareness. Consult with someone outside the family who is a trusted friend and might help you better assess the circumstance and suggest a plan for follow-up. Once you are assured that your suspicions are founded and that there is no informal resolution possible that will preserve family relations, proceed with the formal resolutions available to you.
Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

If you suspect elder mental abuse, contact the adult protective service office in your state. If you have not already done so, your doctor may file a report with the adult protective services office and other social programs. If necessary, the elderly person may be admitted to the hospital for treatment. Free legal services are available to persons over 60 years of age as a result of the Older American's Act. Legal matters may include restraining orders, annulments, guardianship, prosecution, and lawsuits. Social workers may counsel the elderly person to evaluate their mental state and determine their ability to protect themselves and offer testimony against their abuser. The social worker may also work with the elderly victim to build social networks and deal with post-traumatic stress.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.