Older woman in her living room with her chin resting on her hands, not smiling.

Elder Abuse is one of the most significant, under recognized and under reported abuse problems in the United States. For every 1 case of abuse, neglect, and/or financial exploitation reported, 24 cases are NOT!

Elder Abuse Prevention and Awareness Program

Elder Abuse is defined as the abuse, neglect, or exploitation of individuals age 60 or older.

EAPA Program has been established to raise awareness and address the problem of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Aging Resources objectives include responding to reported concerns of older adults who are AT risk or currently experiencing abuse; coordinate community resources, collaborate with resources/professionals; and increase public awareness.

EAPA serves individuals age 60 or older, to identify risk, abuse and assists with developing options to reduce or eliminate risks and stop abuse. Individuals have the right to be safe in their home, be treated with dignity, respect and make their own decisions, even if they seem wrong to others. Abuse is when these rights are denied, resulting in harm.

Aging Resources Elder Rights Specialist can:

  • Assess the situation by phone, home, office, or other community location
  • Review options to address risk or stop abuse.
  • Complete comprehensive intervention plan specific to the needs identified
  • Educate on filing a Petition for Relief from Elder Abuse. Assist with petition (no contact order, 235F) if appropriate.
  • Provide Advocate to court and through court process, if desired.
  • Provide connections to needed services and supports.
  • Support and Empower older adult’s choice through advocacy

Aging Resources works closely with the Department of Human Services, Law Enforcement, Fire Department, and additional community providers. Aging Resources referrals include those that do not meet the DHS Iowa Code criteria of Dependent Adult Abuse.

If you suspect abuse or are concerned about a vulnerable adult you can speak confidentially to an Elder Rights Specialist at 515-255-1310.

Elder Abuse can take on multiple forms, so be aware of the warning signs!

Types of Elder Abuse and Warning Signs:


  • Unexplained injuries or injuries inconsistent with explanation
  • Inadequately explained fractures, bruises, welts, cuts, sores, or burns


  • Sustaining a pelvic injury.
  • Having problems walking or sitting.
  • Developing a sexually transmitted disease or STD.
  • Torn, bloody or stained underwear.
  • Bruises of the genitals or inner thigh.

Neglect / Self Neglect

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


  • Caregiver isolates elder (does not let anyone into the home or speak to the elder)
  • Caregiver is verbally aggressive or demeaning, controlling, overly concerned about spending money.

Financial Exploitation

  • Vulnerable elder/adult “voluntarily” giving uncharacteristically excessive financial reimbursement/gifts for needed care and companionship
  • Caregiver has control of elder’s money but is failing to provide for elder’s needs
  • Vulnerable elder/adult has signed property transfers (Power of Attorney, new will, etc.) but is unable to comprehend the transaction or what it means