How to Report Elderly Abuse in Tennessee

by Barbie Carpenter

Elderly abuse comes in many forms. According to the East Tennessee Area on Aging and Disability, the elderly can suffer from physical, sexual, verbal, mental or financial abuse. In addition, the elderly are at risk for being neglected or abandoned by their caregivers, who may stop giving them their medication or simply stop taking care of them entirely. The state of Tennessee's Department of Human Services, Adult Protective Services Division protects the elderly from such abuse. Tennesseans who suspect elderly abuse can report it to the state.

Call the Tennessee Department of Human Services, Adult Protective Services Division Abuse Hotline at 888-211-8966. This hotline is available for anyone to report abuse, neglect or financial exploitation for adults who cannot protect themselves due to mental or physical impairments or advanced age.

Provide detailed information about the abuse. Give Tennessee's abuse hotline operator as much information as you can about the abuse. Provide the elderly person's name and place of residence as well as the person or people you suspect of abusing them. The more information you provide, the more quickly Tennessee's Adult Protective Services Division can intervene and stop the abuse.

Report elderly abuse taking place in a nursing home or assisted living facility to the Adult Protective Services Division, Tennessee Department of Health (877-287-0010) or Long-Term Care Ombudsman Office (877-236-0013).

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  • Some Tennessee residents can use local telephone numbers to reach the Adult Protective Services Division Abuse Hotline. Knox County residents can call 865-594-5685, and Shelby County residents can report abuse at 901-543-7800. Davidson County residents can contact the hotline at 615-532-3494, while Hamilton County residents can call 423-634-6624,
  • Tennessee's Commission on Aging and Disability provides a list of signs of abuse, which you can refer to if you suspect abuse of an elderly person. For example, physical abuse signs include frequent, unexplained injuries, burns or bruises. Genital injury, fear of caregivers or sexually transmitted diseases can indicate sexual abuse.

About the Author

Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.

Photo Credits

  • elderly lady image by pixelcarpenter from