Elder Abuse

What is SC Elder Abuse?

The World Health Organization defines elder abuse as “a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person.” The heart of this definition is that it concentrates on situations where there is “expectation of trust” by elder person being abused or neglected.

Who Abuses?

Perpetrators of elder abuse can include anyone in a position of trust, control or authority.

Within paid care environments, abuse in SC and other areas may occur due to a number of reasons.

  • Institutional in that it is a result of the procedures is part of the operation of a care institution or service.
  • A willful act of cruelty inflicted by a single individual upon an older person.
  • Lack of Training or knowledge

Signs and Symptoms of Abuse or Neglect Within The Population of SC Elders

  • May seem depressed and withdrawn
  • Will never accept invitations to spend time away from their family or a caregiver
  • Seems afraid to make their own decisions
  • Seems to be hiding something about a caregiver
  • Never seems to have any spending money
  • May put off going to the doctor
  • Seems to have too many accidents

Source: Institute for Good Medicine at the Pennsylvania Medical Society, http://www.myfamilywellness.org/MainMenuCategories/FamilyHealthCenter/DomesticViolence/ElderAbuse.aspx

Elder Physical abuse is defined as the use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment. Physical abuse may include but is not limited to such acts of violence as striking (with or without an object), hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, shaking, slapping, kicking, pinching, and burning. In addition, inappropriate use of drugs and physical restraints, force-feeding, and physical punishment of any kind also are examples of physical abuse.

Symptoms of Physical Abuse include, but are not limited to:

  • bruises, black eyes, welts, lacerations, and rope marks;
  • bone fractures, broken bones, and skull fractures;
  • open wounds, cuts, punctures, untreated injuries in various stages of healing;
  • sprains, dislocations, and internal injuries/bleeding;
  • broken eyeglasses/frames, physical signs of being subjected to punishment, and signs of being restrained;
  • laboratory findings of medication overdose or under utilization of prescribed drugs;
  • an elder’s report of being hit, slapped, kicked, or mistreated;
  • an elder’s sudden change in behavior; and
  • the caregiver’s refusal to allow visitors to see an elder alone.

Elder Neglect is defined as the refusal or failure to fulfill any part of a person’s obligations or duties to an elder. Neglect may also include failure of a person who has fiduciary responsibilities to provide care for an elder (e.g., pay for necessary home care services) or the failure on the part of an in-home service provider to provide necessary care.

Neglect typically means the refusal or failure to provide an elderly person with such life necessities as food, water, clothing, shelter, personal hygiene, medicine, comfort, personal safety, and other essentials included in an implied or agreed-upon responsibility to an elder.

  • dehydration, malnutrition, untreated bed sores, and poor personal hygiene;
  • unattended or untreated health problems;
  • hazardous or unsafe living condition/arrangements (e.g., improper wiring, no heat, or no running water);
  • unsanitary and unclean living conditions (e.g. dirt, fleas, lice on person, soiled bedding, fecal/urine smell, inadequate clothing); and
  • an elder’s report of being mistreated.


What Do I Do If I Suspect Elder Abuse?


Each one of us has a responsibility to keep vulnerable elders safe from harm. The laws in SC and most states require helping professions in the front lines — such as doctors and home health providers — to report suspected abuse or neglect. These professionals are called mandated reporters. Under the laws of eight states, “any person” is required to report a suspicion of mistreatment.

Call the police or 9-1-1 immediately if someone you know is in immediate, life-threatening danger.

If the danger is not immediate, but you suspect that abuse has occurred or is occurring, please tell someone. Relay your concerns to the local adult protective services, long-term care ombudsman, or SC police agencies. For a list of reporting numbers go to this important link: Where to Report Abuse.

If you have been the victim of abuse, exploitation, or neglect, you are not alone. Many people care and can help including an attorney. Please tell your doctor, a friend, or a family member you trust, or call the Eldercare Locator help line immediately.


You can reach the Eldercare Locator by telephone at 1-800-677-1116. Specially trained operators will refer you to a local agency that can help. The Eldercare Locator is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time.




South Carolina Resources (from the National Center on Elder Abuse)


Helplines, Hotlines, and Referral Sources

To report suspected elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation in South Carolina (SC):

  • 803-898-7318 (For suspected elder mistreatment in private homes or foster homes).
  • 800-868-9095 (For suspected elder mistreatment in long-term care facilities, outside Richland County).
  • 803-734-9900 (For suspected elder mistreatment in long-term care facilities, inside Richland County).

To report suspected elder abuse in private homes or foster homes use the number listed above orClick Here for specific county office telephone numbers. For regional Long Term Care Ombudsman program contact information, Click Here.

State Government Agencies

Laws & Regulations

Additional Information

The Adult Protection Coordinating Council prepares an annual report which is available online. To access the report, google search “Adult Protection Coordinating Council Annual Report”. To narrow the search by year, add the year before the end quote (for example: “Adult Protection Coordinating Council Annual Report 2008”).


Information on Nursing Homes from Medicare.gov


Medicare’s Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home

Nursing Home Checklist

Your Rights as a Nursing Home Resident

SC Elder Abuse Attorney

SC elderly abuse is a problem that we need to pay more attention to, and at the law offices of Belinda Ellison we take it very seriously. Elder abuse in South Carolina is unfortunately a persistent problem that sometimes needs the attention of a lawyer to handle matters in the areas of emotional abuse and physical abuse.We are a SC elder abuse attorney that understand the complex nature of this problem and the many challenges our elderly face when dealing with perpetrators of abuse whether it is someone related or not.

Elder abuse in South Carolina (SC) lawyer is committed to protecting and representing vulnerable victims and can work with protective family members or the courts to help the elderly get the representation and help they need.