Nobody likes to think about the beloved elder members of our family becoming victims of abuse, but in New Jersey and across the United States it is frighteningly common. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, nearly 1 in 10 Americans age 60+ has been a victim of elder abuse. As our population ages, it is likely that this number will increase.

Elder abuse is not just perpetrated by institutional facilities. Particularly with financial elder abuse, family members and friends are just as likely to be the perpetrators as strangers. It is important to keep your eyes open for elder abuse, especially since many seniors are reluctant to speak out about it.

If you suspect that your elderly family member may be a victim of abuse, of course, the first thing you should do is try to talk to him or her about your concerns. If your elderly family member or friend is in immediate danger, do not hesitate to call 911.

If your conversation with the person in question proves fruitless and you still have suspicions, if an emergency is not present feel free to give Adult Protective Services a call. You do not need proof of any abuse to do this; rather, a phone call will signal a wellness check to the elderly person or facility in question.

If the suspected abuse is immediate, critical, or life-threatening, please contact local law enforcement for backup. You may also wish to look into reporting agencies within the state of New Jersey if the abuse is related to an assisted living or nursing home facility.