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Elder Abuse

You've read the newspaper stories or seen the reports on TV: an elderly person is physically, emotionally, or sexually abused or financially exploited by a family member, or a patient in a long-term care facility is victimized by a staff member. When something like this happens, we all ask ourselves how, and we wonder why someone can't intervene before these crimes are committed. The truth is, someone could (and should) have helped long before any elder was victimized.


Some studies suggest that only 1 in 23 cases of elder abuse is reported. Read more here. Many times it's because the victim lives with someone who controls the elder's access to the outside world, finances, meals, medication, and everything else. Bruises go unnoticed, and the behavioral signs aren't witnessed, so the abuse continues.


More than two-thirds of elder abuse perpetrators are family members.


To report abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an older person call 1.888.APS.TENN or 1.888.277.8366. You may also want to read the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's Crimes Against the Elderly Report for the 2009-2011 reporting period.

Stories of Abuse


Sweethearts Swindling the Elderly Online


Additional resources


Tennessee Vulnerable Adult Coalition (TVAC)

Stopping Abuse of the Elderly and Persons Who Have Disabilities

Signs of Abuse, Neglect or Exploitation

How to Report Elder Abuse

UN Report on Elder Abuse


How to determine if a prospective employee has committed abuse


Department of Health Abuse Registry

The Tennessee Department of Health is required by state law and federal regulations to maintain a registry of persons who have abused, neglected, or misappropriated personal property. Allegations of abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of personal property against individuals are investigated thoroughly. Substantiated complaints are referred to the Office of General Counsel for review and processing.


Contact information for the registry:


Tennessee Department of Health
Elderly or Vulnerable Abuse Registry
227 French Landing, Suite 501
Heritage Place MetroCenter
Nashville, TN 37243

Last updated 01/13/15.