Elder emotional abuse can be an incredibly difficult type of abuse to uncover. Since the abuse often occurs within the confines of the home or behind closed doors, it can be very difficult to see the signs. In many cases, the victim is too afraid or too ashamed of the abuse to tell someone. However, someone close to the victim might notice that the elder has withdrawn from normal activities or has suddenly become much less alert. In cases of severe emotional abuse, you might see the abuser, who is often the caregiver, humiliate or intimidate the elder. 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 or someone you know is being emotionally abused, there are places to go for help. If the threat of harm is immediate, dial 911.
- If you are not certain that the individual is being abused, but you are concerned about their well-being, contact 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.
- Legal Services for Maine Elders
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 Maine Elders.
- Domestic Violence Hotline
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.