Critter Corner: 8 Things You Can Do to Prevent Elder Abuse

Dear Commander Bun Bun,
I heard that elder abuse can include physical, financial, emotional, or psychological abuse, or abandonment and neglect, and am alarmed at how common it is. What are some ways to prevent elder abuse in my family and in the community? 
Anita Stoppitt
Dear Anita,
Every year an estimated 5 million older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. And that’s only part of the picture: Experts believe that for every case of elder abuse or neglect reported, as many as 23 cases go unreported.

Below are some things you can do to prevent elder abuse in your family and in the communit

  1. Call or visit elderly loved ones or family friends who live alone and ask how they are doing. Spend time with them. Invite them to a family activity such as a child’s soccer game or concert, or to a community gathering, so you can enjoy time together, and make sure they’re  doing alright.
  2. Respite for caregivers is important: Whether it’s for a family member serving as a caregiver or for a professional, make sure the individual caring for someone gets a break.
  3. Talk to a bank manager: Ask your bank manager if they train tellers and other associates on how to detect elder financial abuse.
  4. Reach out to the press: Send a letter/email to your local newspaper, radio or TV station suggesting that they cover World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (next June, since it recently passed) or Grandparents Day in September.
  5. Find out how you can work with seniors: Contact your local Adult Protective Services or Long-Term Care Ombudsman to learn how to support their work helping at-risk elders and adults with disabilities.
  6. Work with local schools: Organize a “Respect Your Elders” essay or poster contest in your child’s school. If the school doesn’t already offer the program, take steps to organize a Grandparent’s Day or Grandpals’ Day in your local elementary school to foster intergenerational respect.
  7. Volunteer to visit a nursing home resident or to a homebound senior in your neighborhood. Many animal shelters will “loan” dogs or cats for pet therapy excursions since studies show that interacting with pets can improve physical and emotional health. You could also volunteer at a local chapter of Meals on Wheels, which is a good way for volunteers to observe if a senior is managing well at home, or if he or she may need other assistance.
  8. Dedicate your marathon, bike race or other event toward preventing elder abuse. As you gather sponsors, create a webpage and reach out to others. Conversations around what you’re doing will help spread awareness about elder abuse.
For more information on elder abuse prevention, please visit the National Center on Elder AbuseAgeless Alliance or Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse and Neglect  For local resources for seniors, people with disabilities, and caregivers, call the ElderCare Locator at 1-800-677-1116 or visit For more information on elder abuse prevention, please visit 
Hop this helps!
Commander Bun Bun
Print This Page
About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.