Elder Abuse Resources

If you are in immediate danger, call 911. For free, confidential help and support, call PATH at (309) 827-4005.

Elder abuse can come in many forms. It can be physical (inflicting or threatening to inflict physical damage on a vulnerable elder), emotional (inflicting mental pain or distress through verbal or nonverbal acts), sexual (non-consensual sexual contact of any kind, coercing an elder to watch sexual behaviors), exploitation (illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds or property), neglect (refusal or failure to provide food, shelter, health care, or protection for a vulnerable elder), and abandonment (desertion of an elder by anyone who has assumed responsibility or custody of them). It is not uncommon for an elder to experience more than one type of mistreatment, and most times the abuser is someone that the elder person trusts, such as a spouse, sibling, child, friend, or care giver. Institutional elder abuse is committed in residential facilities such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, group homes, etc., and domestic elder abuse is committed in the own victim's home (National Center on Elder Abuse).

Warning Signs

If you think you or someone you know could be suffering this kind of abuse, there are common signs of abuse and mistreatment like recent withdrawal, fear of one specific person, and sudden emotional changes. More specific warning signs are as follows:

  •  Physical abuse
    • Unexplained bruises, welts, and scars, especially if they are symmetrical on two sides of the body
    • Broken bones, sprains, or dislocations
    • Reports of drug overdose or apparent failure to take medication regularly
    • Broken eyeglasses or frames
    • Signs of being restrained such as rope marks on the wrist
    • Caregiver's refusal to allow you to see the elder alone
  • Sexual abuse
    • Bruises around breasts or genitals
    • Bite marks
    • Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
    • Torn, stained, or bloody undergarments
    • Unexplained difficulty walking or sitting
    • Unexplained STD
    • Covering up in many layers of clothing
    • Does not want to be touched
  • Emotional abuse
    • Sudden behavioral changes such as loss of appetite, becoming withdrawn, anxious
    • Complaints are ignored
    • Seeming under- or over-medicated
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Suicidal thoughts or attempts of suicide
    • Depression
    • Crying, shaking, trembling
  • Financial abuse
    • Recent changes in spending patterns
    • An unusual amount of phone solicitation for money
    • Caregiver uses drugs or excessive alcohol
    • Caregiver, family member, or friend asking for or demanding money
    • Caregiver does not listen to how the elder would like to spend their money
    • Can include personal possessions, not just money
  • Neglect
    • Unusual weight loss, malnutrition, and dehydration
    • Untreated physical problems, such as bed sores
    • Unsanitary living conditions
    • Being left dirty or unbathed
    • Unsuitable clothing or covering for the weather
    • Unsafe living conditions (no heat, water, or electricity, fire hazards)
    • Desertion of the elder in a public setting
    • Pets or plants seem neglected or abused

State Resources

PATH
   (309) 827-4005
Elder mistreatment in the home
   (866) 800-1409
Elder mistreatment in care facility
   (800) 252-8966 
East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging
   (309) 829-2065

Additional Resources

National Center on Elder Abuse 
Clearinghouse on Abuse and Neglect of the Elderly
National Domestic Violence Hotline
   (800) 799-7233