Abuse Later in Life

Aging with Respect is an intervention addressing elder abuse, neglect and intimate partner violence with those later in life.  It is developed for those patients/clients with agency and capacity in non-crisis, non-emergency situations that provides information about healthy and safe relationships, and the impact of unhealthy relationships on health and wellbeing. Topics include financial, emotional, and physical abuse and exploitation, education and prevention strategies, and information on seeking support.

The intervention is designed for doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, aging services program staff, victim advocates and Adult Protective Services staff during wellness, primary care, social service and counseling visits, health specialty settings (e.g. podiatry etc.), rehab centers, assisted living and senior housing facilities, and aging service programs such as recreational and meal programs.

Because the education is offered universally, not just to those with observational red flags, the intervention ensures that all patients, regardless of whether they choose to disclose violence, abuse or neglect, have access to information, resources and support. This approach mirrors Futures Without Violence’s (FUTURES’) evidence based universal education intervention called “CUES” (Confidentiality limits, Universal Education, Empowerment and Support). The intervention relies on a safety card to provide guidance to health and community professionals on how to talk to patients about any concerning behavior of those around them and encourages early education about emotional, physical, and financial harassment, abuse and neglect.

The Front and Back of the Aging With Respect Safety Card

(The image above is the Front and Back panels of the 5-panel, double sided, safety card tool designed for use with older adults. The complete resource measures approx. 5.5″ x 17″ when unfolded, and folds down to a 5.5″ x 3.5″ card)

The well-thought-through scripts normalize these conversations with patients/clients and lets them know that the clinic or organization is a place to turn for help should they have concerns about abusive or harassing behavior at any time in the future. In any one appointment or clinic visit, providers may focus on one or two sections of the safety card most related to their patients’/clients’ presenting problem(s), health issue(s) or circumstances. Given time limitations, issues covered in the card can be pursued over multiple visits. Two cards are to be offered – if safe for the client to take home – to read over later and share with a friend. This approach can be used with a clinic’s, hospital’s or organization’s current elder abuse screening procedures or protocols as a precursor to a direct inquiry approach where the Aging with Respect tool is used first to open patients to the possibility of discussing issues of concern. While the intent of the intervention is to use it with patients and clients in-person, the card may also be distributed during community events, and/or placed in private areas such as restrooms and exam rooms for individuals to pick up on their own.

This intervention and safety card was created by Futures Without Violence in collaboration with National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life.

ORDERING INSTRUCTIONS: This card is available to order as a PDF Download or in Hard Copy for free (plus shipping and handling)

Elder Abuse Resources:

National Domestic Violence Hotline
The hotline offers free, confidential information and referrals to local programs.
1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) TTY 1-800-787-3224 | includes online chat support

StrongHearts Native Helpline
This helpline offers free, confidential service for Native Americans affected by domestic violence.
1-844-7NATIVE (1-844-762-8483) |

Eldercare Locator
This public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging can connect older adults and their families to services.
1-800-677-1116 |

National Adult Protective Services Association
Get help in your area by making a confidential report. – APS regulations vary from state to state. For information on your local APS offices, please select the state (or territories of Puerto Rico or Guam) for which you wish to obtain information. Many states also host 24-hour-a-day hotlines to accept reports of abuse or neglect.

National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care
Their Long Term Care Ombudsman program advocates for resident of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, board and care homes, and similar adult care homes; and they are trained to resolve problems and advocate for quality care and the quality of life for residents and consumers in their locality, state or region.

Department of Justice Elder Justice Initiative – Neighborhood Map
This online tool is used to find information and referrals to local services by state and territory.

National Center on Elder Abuse
Provides a list of resources by state as well as a list of Tribal resources.

National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life
Provides information and referrals to local services for survivors and allies.

AARP Elder Watch
Provides information and referrals if you are experiencing financial exploitation
1-800 222-4444 |

Provides free tools and referrals connecting immigrants to legal help. (Spanish and English)

National Immigration Legal Services Directory of the Immigration Advocates Network
Provides free or low-cost immigration legal services

To find an immigration service organization near you:

National Council on Aging
8 Tips for How Seniors Can Protect Themselves from Money Scams

Thank you to Advisory Committee who helped develop this intervention:

Elizabeth Bloemen, MPH, University of Colorado School of Medicine

Bonnie Brandl, National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL)

Laura Brown, LCSW, Baptist Memorial Healthcare Memphis, TN

Chic Dabby, Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence

Lisa Furr, National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL)

Anthony C. Hou, MD, Kaiser Permanente, Los Angeles, CA

Suzanne Kramer-Brenna, MA, MSW, LCSW, CAWS North Dakota

Veronica LoFaso, MD, Weill Cornell Medicine & the NYC Elder Abuse Center

Ferrell Moore, RN, CRN, Baptist Memorial Healthcare, Memphis, TN

Bonnie Olsen, PhD, USC, National Center on Elder Abuse

Steve Tam, MD, University of California, Irvine School of Medicine

Melba A. Hernandez-Tejada, PhD, DHA, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC