Carr Recognizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Encourages Georgians to Learn Signs of Elder Abuse

June 15, 2020

ATLANTA, GA – Some statistics show that at least one in ten adults over 65 will be the victim of some type of abuse in a given year. In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Attorney General Chris Carr is encouraging Georgians to learn how to recognize the signs of elder abuse and know where to report it.

“The abuse of vulnerable adults is unacceptable, and sadly, it is often family members and trusted caregivers who are the perpetrators,” said Attorney General Carr. “This year, we want to shine a light on financial abuse related to the stimulus payments and Covid-19. Please visit our website or call our office to learn more about how we can help serve you.”

Elder abuse includes physical, sexual and emotional abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. Below are explanations, signs to look out for and resources for reporting abuse and protecting loved ones.

Physical Abuse

  • Not only does physical abuse include hitting, beating or intentionally hurting someone; it also includes the improper use of restraints or medications, forcing someone to remain in a bed or chair, or forcing someone to remain in a room (including locking them in).
  • Signs of such abuse can include unexplained burns, cuts, bruises, and bleeding; sprained or broken bones; and injuries that happen over and over. Another suspicious sign is when the person doesn’t want to see a doctor about his/her injuries. Read more here.
  • Sexual abuse includes inappropriate touching, rape, or making someone watch pornography or take off his or her clothes.
  • Signs of sexual abuse include torn or bloody clothes, especially underwear; sexually transmitted diseases; bruises, especially on both sides of the body or around the breasts or genitals; or bleeding from the vagina or bottom.

Neglect

  • This happens when caregivers don’t tend to an older person’s needs. That can include not giving the person enough food, water, clothing, housing and medications or abandoning him/her.
  • Signs of neglect include the person being messy or unclean; having dirty clothes, unkempt hair or skin rashes; sudden weight loss or loss of appetite; bedsores; or missing or broken dentures, eyeglasses, hearing aids or walkers.

Emotional/Psychological Abuse

  • Emotional/Psychological Abuse includes threatening someone with violence, nursing home placement, abandonment or neglect; threats, insults, harassment, name calling or intimidating; isolating the person from friends, family or activities; excessively criticizing; ignoring; making derogatory or slanderous statements; repeatedly raising the issue of death; and excluding the older person from decision making when he or she is capable and wants to be included.
  • The victim of emotional or psychological abuse may act withdrawn or frightened, have behavior changes that you can’t explain, have trouble sleeping, suck rock back and forth or mumble to him/herself, act depressed, confused or show no interest in things he/she used to enjoy.

Financial Exploitation

  • Financial exploitation is the misuse of financial resources for another’s gain.
  • Signs include: missing money or valuables, credit card charges the individual did not make, unusual activity in bank accounts, unpaid bills, rent or taxes, eviction notices, legal documents (such as will or power of attorney) signed by an elderly person who could not have understood what he or she was signing, and signatures on checks or documents that appear to be forged.

Reporting Elder Abuse:

  • To report abuse, neglect, and exploitation of an older adult or disabled adult who lives in a private residence, contact your local police by dialing 911 or contact Adult Protective Services at 1-866-55AGING - Press “3.” Additionally, you can visit aging.ga.gov then click the Report Elder Abuse tab.
  • To report abuse, neglect, and exploitation of an older adult, disabled adult or resident in a facility, contact Healthcare Facility Regulation: 1-800-878-6442.

To access information on long-term supports and services, services in the home and community, or support for individuals and family members who are aging or living with a disability, contact Georgia’s Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) to locate an office in your area: georgiaadrc.com.

To learn more about legal measures, visit the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia’s website: pacga.org. Look at pages 38-39 of the Georgia Consumer Protection Guide for Older Adults for a full breakdown of resources in Georgia. View the Consumer Protection Division’s section on Coronavirus-related scams.