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Elder Safety

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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: June 15, 2014


Elder abuse affects hundreds of thousands of people each year, yet just one in fourteen cases is brought to the attention of authorities. Those individuals suffering from cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's Disease are particularly vulnerable. Elder victims tend to be the most isolated of all victims of family violence. They are likely to have fewer social connections to the community that would normally be an avenue of help. 

Howard County strives to advocate for the rights of seniors and vulnerable adults. The Howard County Office on Aging has partnered with the Howard County Police Department in an effort to educate residents about Elder Abuse and highlight the important role that citizens can play in recognizing and reporting suspected abuse.  


What can you do to prevent Elder Abuse?


  • Become informed - learn the types of abuse and how to recognize the different signs of abuse
  • Report suspected abuse in nursing homes and assisted living facilities by contacting the Howard County Long Term Care Ombudsman Program at 410-313-6423
  • Report suspected abuse in the community by contacting the Howard County Department of Social Services: Adult Protective Services at 410-872-8700
  • Keep in contact with older relatives, friends and neighbors
  • Volunteer with a program that provides assistance and support services to older adults


Take a stand! 


 The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) urges individuals, families, community groups, organizations, and businesses to “Take A Stand” by participating in elder abuse awareness and prevention efforts. To learn how to spot the warning signs of abuse or mistreatment, the NCEA's reference guide, the Red Flags of Abuse can help.  The Eldercare Locator, a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging, has compiled a list of 10 Warning Signs an Older Loved One May Need Assistance to help older adults, family members, and caregivers recognize when extra help is needed in the home. For more information, view the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2013 Fact Sheet.  


Types of Elder Abuse 


  • Physical Abuse—Inflicting, or threatening to inflict, physical pain or injury on an elder person or vulnerable adult, or depriving them of a basic need. 
  • Emotional Abuse—Inflicting mental pain, anguish, or distress on an elder person or vulnerable adult through verbal or nonverbal acts. 
  • Sexual Abuse—Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind, coercing an elder person or vulnerable adult to witness sexual behaviors. 
  • Exploitation—Illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of an elder person or vulnerable adult. 
  • Neglect—Refusal or failure by those responsible to provide food, shelter, health care or protection for an elder person or vulnerable adult. 
  • Abandonment—The desertion of a vulnerable elder by anyone who has assumed the responsibility for care or custody of that person. 


Preventing Scams & Fraud


Senior citizens in Howard County, as well as the rest of the United States, are often targets of scams and fraud, which are forms of financial abuse. The Howard County Office of Consumer Affairs educates the public on how to avoid being a victim of a scam and prevent fraud, and also handles complaints against businesses (don't miss the Identity Theft Forum on June 13, 2013 from 7 to 9 pm. at Howard High School. Click here for details.) To find out more about these services, call 410-313-6420 or email rgbowman@howardcountymd.gov


How to report abuse?


Raising awareness about the types and signs of Elder Abuse is just the first step. The Office on Aging and Howard County Police urge citizens to "make a difference, make the call" by calling 9-1-1 to report suspected abuse or neglect. To learn more about local, state and national organizations involved in the protection of our most vulnerable citizens, click on one or more of the following links. To contact the Howard County Office on Aging for assistance, call 410-313-5980 or email map@howardcountymd.gov.


In Howard County, contact: 



In the state of Maryland, contact:



Other Resources: