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Red Flags of Abuse 

thumbnail image of Red Flags handout - English version

These warning signs have been outlined by Center of Excellence staff to help alert loved ones and acquaintances to possible signs of mistreatment. 

Feel free to download and print copies to distribute in your community.

Red Flags, National Center on Elder Abuse versions (PDF)

Red Flags, 2011 versions (Orange County, CA examples) (PDF)

Does a senior or adult with a disability that you know display any warning signs of mistreatment?


  • Lack of basic hygiene
  • Lack of adequate food
  • Lack of medical aids (glasses, walker, teeth, hearing aid, medications)
  • Lack of clean appropriate clothing
  • Person with dementia left unsupervised
  • Bed bound person left without care
  • Home cluttered, filthy, in disrepair, or having fire & safety hazards
  • Home without adequate facilities (stove, refrigerator, heat, cooling, working plumbing, and electricity)
  • Untreated pressure “bed” sores

Financial Abuse

  • Lack of amenities victim could afford
  • Elder “voluntarily” giving inappropriate financial reimbursement for needed care and companionship
  • Caregiver has control of elder’s money but is failing to provide for elder’s needs
  • Caretaker “living off” elder
  • Elder has signed property transfers (Power of Attorney, new will, etc.) when unable to comprehend the transaction


Psychological Abuse

  • Caregiver isolates elder (doesn’t let anyone into the home or speak to the elder)
  • Caregiver is verbally aggressive or demeaning, controlling, overly concerned about spending money, or uncaring

Physical Abuse

  • Inadequately explained fractures, bruises, welts, cuts, sores or burns

 Reporting Suspected Abuse and Neglect

  • Anywhere in the U.S., call the ElderCare Locator for a referral by dialing 1-800-677-1116.  You can also visit the NCEA State Directory to find agencies in your area.