The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program at ABLE works to uphold the rights of people who receive long-term care by investigating and resolving complaints about long-term care ranging from admission and discharge problems to abuse, neglect and violations of civil rights.

Defining Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is a crime. Help is available. Abuse of an elderly person can happen in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult group homes and other long-term care facilities. Abuse from a caregiver can also occur in private homes.

The National Center on Elder Abuse has estimated that more than one million seniors suffer abuse or neglect each year, many while in nursing homes. In 2001, a Congressional report revealed that 5,283 nursing homes, more than 30 percent of the 17,000 nursing homes nationwide, were cited for abuse violations from January 1999 through December 2000. Of the 9,000 violations reported, 1,600 were serious enough to directly harm residents.

What is elder abuse and neglect?

  • Abuse is the willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, isolation, intimidation, or punishment that results in physical harm, pain or mental anguish.
  • Neglect occurs when a person knowingly fails to provide goods and services necessary to avoid physical harm or mental anguish. Neglect includes withholding food, hydration or hygiene.
  • Sexual abuse includes non-consensual sexual contact.
  • Financial exploitation is a form of abuse and includes taking control of an individual’s financial resources through misrepresentation, coercion, or theft.