Elder abuse doesn’t always look how you’d expect. It might not be someone you love getting pushed around or hurt physically. It might not even be financial exploitation, where they’re left with little in their bank accounts.

Elder abuse can be as simple as name-calling or harassment. Imaging being an elder. You may be unable to stand up for yourself, so you can do nothing other than to listen to someone put you down for circumstances that have nothing to do with anything you could have prevented. You’re old, tired and now depressed over your treatment.

Elders deal with social isolation and harassment often in nursing homes and other facilities where they should be receiving care. Sadly, many people have few relatives, so they’re left in the care of people who may not have their best interests at heart.

No matter the circumstances, no one deserves to be treated as if they don’t matter. Elders deserve respect, not degradation, name-calling and verbal abuse. Controlling behaviors from caregivers are unacceptable. They are there to support elders, not to control what they do or how they do it (unless it’s endangering them or others).

If you notice that someone you love, a friend or family member, is acting differently after entering into care, it’s important to say something. If they confide in you that they’ve been shouted at or verbally abused, say something to the nursing home, caregiver’s employer or other responsible party. It’s everyone’s responsibility to step in and help those who are being abused, whether that abuse is physical or not.