Crime Types


What is Elder Abuse?

A single or repeated act, or physical emotion, sexual, exploitation neglect and abandonment perpetrated against an older person.

Sadly most perpetrators are those closest to them; their children, other family members, their spouses as well as staff at nursing homes, assisted living, and other facilities.

  1. Elder abuse most often takes place in the home where the senior lives. It can also happen in institutional settings, especially long-term care facilities.
  2. It is estimated that more than 1 in 10 older adults experience some form of abuse.
  3. Most victims are dependent on their abuser for basic needs.
  4. The most common form of abuse is financial exploitation, with physical abuse, neglect and emotional abuse following.

*National Council on Aging. (

While many home health aides are stellar, others, like Goodwin, could be your worst nightmare. Financial, physical and emotional abuse is on the rise, if the number of arrest warrants and abuse complaints is any indication. Research suggests that 1 in 10 Americans 60 and over have experienced some form of elder abuse. But even as prosecutors around the country target elder abuse, many cases go unreported. Some older adults fear that if they complain, they will end up in a nursing home. Those with dementia may not be able to remember that they have been abused: Studies show that more than a third of people with dementia suffer psychological or physical abuse at the hands of people providing care. Meanwhile, their natural advocates and watchdogs — family members — often live hundreds or thousands of miles away.

No one with a need for a home health aide should be afraid to seek necessary care. But how do you ensure that your loved one is in safe hands? Lee Lindquist, M.D., chief of geriatrics at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, offers these 10 questions to ask when vetting home-care agencies.

1. How do you recruit home health aides, and what are your hiring requirements?

2. Do you do criminal background checks on prospective aides? How about drug screening?

3. Are health aides certified in CPR, or do they have any health-related training?

4. Are the aides insured and bonded through your agency?

5. What competencies are expected of the aide? Lifting and transfers? Personal care skills (bathing, dressing, toileting)? Training in behavioral management, cognitive support?

6. How do you assess what the aide is capable of doing?

7. What is your policy on providing a substitute home health-care aide in the event a regular care provider cannot perform the services in your contract?

8. If there is dissatisfaction with a particular home-care provider, can he or she be replaced “without cause”?

9. Does the agency provide a supervisor who is responsible for regularly evaluating the quality of home care?

10. Does supervision occur over the telephone, through progress reports or in person at the home of the older adult?

If you or a loved one have been abused, contact Victim Services at or call (432)263-3312.  Also report the incident to your local police department or sheriff’s office. 




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