What is Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse is the mistreatment, neglect or exploitation of an older adult or vulnerable person. 

The abuse typically occurs at home or at a residential facility, at the hands of a caregiver or family member. 

If someone is hurting you or taking your money, or you suspect someone you know is being harmed, help is available:

  • Developing a safety plan  
  • Housing 
  • Counseling and support groups  
  • Legal assistance

There are many forms of abuse and maltreatment  

  • Physical, emotional or sexual  
  • Neglect or isolation  
  • Financial exploitation or theft  
  • Self-neglect


Minnesota's senior population is on the rise and with it we have seen an increase in reported cases of elder abuse.

Click here to see Minnesota Department of Human Services data.

The issue is a major focus of the Anoka County Attorney's Office, which has been a leader in the fight against elder abuse in Minnesota.

In 2012, this office founded the Minnesota Stop Abuse & Financial Exploitation (S.A.F.E.) Elders Initiative. The program aimed to reduce elder abuse through training, policy and education.

To that end, the S.A.F.E. Initiative members -- a coalition of community and law enforcement partners -- created and distributed a Minnesota-focused informational toolkit and video.

The S.A.F.E. Elders Initiative later merged with a group called the Vulnerable Adult Justice Project. The new nonprofit collaboration is known as the Minnesota Elder Justice Center.

While these efforts have helped, and have paved the way for more progress, elder abuse continues to be under-reported.

Current efforts

The Anoka County Attorney's Office has staff dedicated to cases involving elder abuse. Our specialized prosecutor and victim/witness specialist not only participate in trainings to further their own expertise, they hold trainings and presentations for others across the state. They have trained law enforcement, professionals who work in elder care services, and other prosecutors. 

Often, they will use real case examples to illustrate the diversity of elder abuse scenarios and legal solutions to cases that rise to criminal charges. 

Family and Friends: What can you do?

Look for warning signs: 

  • Unexplained injuries  
  • Sudden change in finances  
  • Changes in appetite, hygiene, health  
  • Fear or withdrawal  
  • Isolation by a caretaker  

Ask questions. Listen.  

  • Is anybody taking your money without your permission?  
  • Is anyone hurting you?  
  • Are you afraid of anyone?  

Report suspected abuse or exploitation.  

Visit regularly; monitor wellbeing; help track important information and appointments.  

If you are in immediate danger, call 911 

To report abuse, neglect or exploitation, call: Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center 844-880-1574 

Informational materials:

The Basics of Elder Abuse

Reporting Suspected Abuse

Preventing Common Scams

Agencies and organizations:

Minnesota Elder Justice Center
Provides information and resources for victims and families
Minnesota Elder Justice Center Website

Alexandra House Aging Services
Provides advocacy services; assists with protective orders
24-hour Help Line: 763-780-2330
Alexandra House Website

Anoka County Community Action Program (ACCAP)
Connects residents with local resources
Senior information line: 763-783-4707
ACCAP Website

Office of Ombudsman for Long-Term Care
Investigates complaints about long-term service providers
651-431-2555 or 800-657-3591

Volunteers of America Center for Excellence in Supported Decision Making 
Assists in decision-making and guardianship alternatives
952-945-4174 or 844-333-1748
Center's Website

Other Anoka County senior resources

National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)
NCEA Website

National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL)
NCALL Website