Neglect is a form of abuse that can be hard to identify, but it is the most common type of elder abuse. As an outsider looking in, you may notice things that suggest that the elder is not getting the care that they need. An elder who is being neglected may look dirty, can smell or have signs of physical deterioration (sores or bruises), or may be dressed inappropriately for the weather. The elder’s home can also show signs that he or she is being neglected if it is overly dirty or otherwise is an unsafe environment, this can be interpreted as a red flag for neglect. In some cases of neglect, the elder is not allowed to leave their home, have visitors, or use the telephone. This may also be an aspect of a domestic abuse relationship if the primary caregiver is a spouse or child of the elder.
If you think that an elder is being neglected, reach out to them and privately talk to them about your concerns. There are many resources available that can protect that person from further abuse and can help set up services to ensure that they get the care that they deserve. If you are concerned for someone’s immediate safety, call 911.
For more information:
- Adult Protective Services – Office of Aging and Disability Services (Department of Health and Human Services)
Nationwide 24-hour, toll-free: 1-800-624-8404
TTY (24/7) Maine relay 711
Provides and arranges for services to protect incapacitated and dependent adults (age 18 and over) in danger of abuse, neglect or exploitation. Visit the website for the Office of Aging and Disability Services to learn more.
- Call your local Area Agency to find out what supports and services are available to help
- Long term care options counseling
- Identifying possible housing
- Assisting in receiving benefits
- Providing family support and meals.
- Legal Services for the Elderly
You can help the elder call the LSE Helpline where they can talk to an attorney and receive free legal assistance. Visit www.mainelse.org to learn more about Legal Services for the Elderly.
- Domestic Violence Helpline
Callers are connected to someone who can listen, offer emotional support and information, help with safety planning, and help deciding what to do next. Visit the website for the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence to find the domestic violence program for your area.
- Maine Suicide Prevention Program - Hotline
If you are concerned about yourself or about someone else, call the crisis hotline. If you are not in Maine, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Visit the website for more information on the Maine Suicide Prevention Program.