Abuse Later in Life

Domestic abuse in later life refers to people who are 50 years and older and are harmed by a dating partner, spouse, adult, child, or other family member. Health problems or disabilities may leave an older person less able to get help. Abuse may be physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, or financial.

Abuse in later life can take many forms. It can involve taking away the person’s choices around such things as meals, rest, or activities. It can involve forcing the person to have sex or watch sex. It can involve giving too much or not enough medicine to the person.

Abusers may also:

  • Hurt or scare the person.
  • Keep the person from friends and family.
  • Blame or make the person feel bad.
  • Yell at or threaten the person.
  • Refuse to take the person to a doctor.
  • Restrain or punish the person.

An older person who is abused may have:

  • Bruises or other marks on their body.
  • Broken bones or sprains.
  • Broken eyeglasses or other items that help them with seeing, hearing, or walking.
  • Unpaid bills.

An older person who is abused may not have:

  • Enough to eat or the right things to eat.
  • Proper clothing for the season.
  • Good hygiene.

The person may be sad or afraid. They may not be able to leave the abuse. Leaving may mean losing money or their home. It may mean losing family or health care support. Abuse is never right. Those who report abuse must be taken seriously.

To speak with someone about abuse in later life, call National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL):

1-608-255-0539 (TTY 1-608-255-3560)