Elder Abuse Coalition

Did You Know?
One out of 14 persons over the age of 60 is likely to experience elder abuse?



The Oneida County Elder Abuse Coalition is a continually growing collection of area agencies and organizations that was formed to promote the awareness, recognition, intervention and prevention of elder abuse in our community.  Together we provide a prompt, coordinated response to the service needs of victims and other vulnerable elderly persons.

If You Suspect Someone is the Victim of Elder Abuse Call Us 
to Make a Confidential Referral



Physical Abuse

The non-accidental use of force that results in bodily injury, pain or impairment, including, but not limited to, being slapped, burned, cut, bruised or improperly physically restrained.


  • Injuries to the upper body, especially the face, neck, throat, chest, abdomen or to the pelvic area
  • Bruises in the shapes of objects such as a belt or fingers
  • Burns in unusual size, shapes or locations
  • Previous injuries in different stages of healing
  • Location of the bruising inconsistent with the patient's explanations
  • Bi-lateral bruises
  • Evidence of drug or alcohol abuse by victim or person accompanying the victim
  • Repeated use of emergency room services, possibly in different facilities
  • Delay between the incident causing the injury and presentation in the emergency room
  • Changes in demeanor or activity level, (either observed through on-going contact or reported by the victim)
  • Unwillingness to communicate

Sexual Abuse

Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind, including, but not limited to, forcing sexual contact or forcing sex with a third party.


  • Difficulty in walking or sitting without evidence of muscular-skeletal disease
  • Bruising on the inner thighs
  • Vaginal bleeding not associated with menses
  • Presence of sperm in the vagina or anus
  • Unexplained venereal disease or infection

Emotional Abuse

The willful infliction of mental or emotional anguish by threat, humiliation, intimidation or other abusive conduct, including, but not limited to frightening or isolating an adult.


  • Patient's confusion (which is not otherwise indicated by organic brain syndrome, malnutrition, dehydration, anesthesia or inappropriate use of medication)
  • Signs of depression (such as suicidal ideation, sleep disturbances, changes in appetite, psycho-motor agitation and loss of interest in pursuing social contacts)
  • Anxiety
  • Passivity
  • Evasiveness
  • Fear

Financial Exploitation

The improper use of an adult's funds, property or resources by another individual, including, but not limited to:  fraud, false pretenses, embezzlement, conspiracy, forgery, falsifying records, coerced property transfers or denial of access to assets.


  • Inability to pay bills for shelter expenses, food, appropriate clothing or medications despite adequate income and resources;
  • Credit card bills from clothing or electronic equipment suppliers not likely to be frequented by patient;
  • Anxiety when discussing finances;
  • Unusual transfers or assets to another person.

Passive Neglect

The non-willful failure of a caregiver to fulfill caretaking functions and responsibilities because of inadequate caregiver knowledge, infirmity or disputing the value of prescribed services.

Active Neglect

The willful failure by the caregiver to fulfill the caretaking functions and responsibilities assumed by the caregiver, including, but not limited to:

  • Failure to provide for food, clothing or shelter
  • Failure to provide access to medical or long term care services
  • Failure to provide assistance with the activities of daily living
  • Failure to provide for a safe environment


The inability, due to physical and/or mental impairments to perform tasks essential to caring for oneself, including but not limited to:

  • Providing essential food, clothing, shelter and medical care
  • Obtaining goods and services necessary to maintain physical health
  • Emotional well-being and general safety
  • Managing financial affairs

Indicators of Passive, Active and Self-Neglect:

  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Hypo/hyperthermia
  • Decubitus ulcer
  • General deterioration of health
  • Excessive dirt and odor
  • Misuse of medications
  • Failure to provide necessary prosthetic devices, dentures, glasses, hearing aids, or durable surgical equipment

Factors That Have Been Shown to Bear a Significant Correlation 
to Abuse are:

  • Physical or cognitive impairment of the victim
  • Isolation of the victim
  • Caregiver stress (abuse or neglect may be and often is unintentional)
  • Dependence of the abuse on the victim
  • Psychopathology or mental incapacity of the abuser
  • Caregivers and strangers (involved with a vulnerable or incapacitated adult's care and financial management)







Victims Fail to Report Abuse and Mistreatment

Because of:

  • Guilt, shame, love especially when the abuser is an adult child/grandchild
  • Fear that the abuser will receive jail term instead of help/treatment - It's my fault" he drinks or takes drugs
  • Physical/cognitive impairment
  • Isolation and not knowing where to turn for help
  • Victims' perception of financial dependency on abuser
  • Fear of losing caregiver, even an abusing caregiver

The Public Fails to Report Abuse and Mistreatment

Because of:

  • General lack of understanding or awareness of elder abuse
  • Belief that elder abuse doesn't exist - they've never seen it
  • Fear of financial or legal liability if they report suspected abuse
  • Societal attitudes
  • "It's a family affair; nobody's business."
  • Disbelief that elders can also be abusers.  "I can't put handcuffs on this old man and take him to jail.  He's someone's grandfather."

High Risk Factors For Caregivers

  • Substance abuse by the older adult or the caregiver
  • Unemployment of caregiver
  • Caregiver lack of knowledge of aging process and caregiving duties.  Lack of knowledge of available community resources or services and how to access them
  • Age/psychological/physical health of caregiver
  • Caregiver stress, role fatigue, role dissatisfaction
  • Caregiver pressured into caregiving role because of guilt or for financial reasons
  • Caregiver has poor impulse control
  • Caregiver's refusal to accept, or fear of, own aging process
  • Caregiver has other dependents ("the sandwich generation")
  • Poor family inter-relationships
  • Multiple family problems
  • Family history of violence
  • Psychological and/or physical impairments in the elderly person
  • Elder is experiencing recent meaningful losses; bereavement, loss of independence and mobility
  • Social isolation of the caregiver and of the elderly person
  • Lack of social and emotional support network
  • Unreasonable expectations of capabilities of the elder by the caregiver and of the caregiver by the elder
  • The elder believes he or she is helpless
  • Increasing dependency of the elderly person.  Vulnerability to all forms of elder abuse increases with any kind of cognitive impairment.
  • Refusal of elder and/or caregiver to accept help

How to make a referral to the Oneida County Elder Abuse Coalition:

  • *When you suspect financial exploitation, physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse or neglect call the Oneida County Office For Aging & Continuing Care at 798-5456.
  • A new referral will be taken by an intake worker who will ask the following information:
  1. Name of client
  2. Address
  3. Date of Birth, if available
  4. Social Security Number, if available
  5. Name of Referral Source
  6. Type and indicators of suspected abuse
  7. Whom should initial contact be made through
  8. Any other pertinent information

* Referral Source May Choose to Remain Anonymous

For Information Call
Oneida County Office for Aging & Continuing Care