Elder Abuse Shelter and Prevention Program in Massachusetts

Learn about Hebrew SeniorLife’s work to provide services for seniors experiencing abuse, neglect, or exploitation, and education on the issue of elder abuse.

The Center for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and Neglect at Hebrew SeniorLife (CPEAN) provides safe shelter and services for seniors suffering from abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation. We primarily serve older adults in Eastern Massachusetts, but can accept referrals or requests for consultations from anywhere.

We work to prevent elder abuse by increasing awareness and providing education.

Our work focuses in four areas:

  • Physical shelter for older adults who are in an unsafe situation due to abuse
  • Supportive services to seniors experiencing abuse
  • Training and education
  • Community awareness-building

Hebrew SeniorLife Operates the First and Only Abuse Shelter Program for Seniors in Massachusetts

Our emergency shelter meets a critical need for those who are in danger, providing them with a safe place to stay and the supportive services and resources necessary for them to begin to heal.

Shelter units are furnished and decorated with a senior’s needs in mind and located in age-friendly settings with various services and amenities available on-site. Shelter residents are also provided with a range of supportive services to help them recover physically, emotionally, and financially. Shelter locations are in Greater Boston.

Emergency Shelter Requirements and Eligibility

We evaluate all referrals made to us on a case-by-case basis to ensure shelter eligibility.

  • An individual must be age 60 or older and be unsafe in their living environment due to an immediate and active threat of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
  • There are no financial eligibility requirements.
  • The senior must not have an alternative safe place to stay.
  • A plan for transitioning to a permanent housing or care setting after shelter is strongly preferred prior to admission.

Services for Survivors of Elder Abuse in Massachusetts 

In addition to providing emergency shelter, the Center for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and Neglect works with those affected by elder abuse to connect them to health care, social, and financial resources. Older adults can access these services whether or not they are staying in our shelter.

Services are available for those age 60 and older who are experiencing abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Drawing upon the Hebrew SeniorLife continuum of care and partnerships with other organizations, we can help with:

  • Case management
  • Financial planning
  • Medical care
  • Trauma-informed counseling
  • Transportation
  • Homemaker and/or cleaning services
  • Personal care assistance
  • Application for benefits
  • Legal services
  • Housing placement services

Elder Abuse Prevention Training and Education

The Center for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and Neglect offers training and education programs for professionals who work with seniors, as well as older adults themselves.

For professionals, we can customize education around how to recognize signs of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation, where to report potential cases of elder abuse, as well as provide resources that are available for assistance. 

We also offer workshops to empower older adults to recognize all types of abuse and advocate for themselves.

Building Awareness About Elder Abuse

The Center is building multidisciplinary coalitions in local communities to bring together community and government organizations. Center-led coalitions are up and running in Boston and Brookline, with others planned for the future.  The Center is also available to help advise other community organizations or agencies in developing elder abuse coalitions or task forces across the Commonwealth. 

Multidisciplinary coalitions or task forces bring together the organizations and service providers that keep seniors safe and secure in their community. This includes, for example, first responders, senior centers, protective services agencies, health care and housing providers, and legal services providers.

Coalitions or task forces can collaborate on programming, legislative advocacy, and systemic change initiatives, and can also engage in  case consultations and cross-referrals to work through the most challenging and complex  situations

We also partner with organizations including the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance and the SPRiNG Alliance to share our expertise in the care of elders and connect with state-wide and national shelter and services networks.

What are the Five Types of Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse is an intentional act or failure to act that causes or creates a risk of harm to an adult age 60 or older. The abuse often occurs at the hands of a caregiver or a person the older adult trusts. There are several types of elder abuse.

Physical abuse is when an older adult experiences illness, pain, injury, functional impairment, distress, or death as a result of the intentional use of physical force and includes acts such as hitting, kicking, pushing, slapping, and burning.

Sexual abuse involves forced or unwanted sexual interaction of any kind with an older adult. This may include unwanted sexual contact or penetration or non-contact acts such as sexual harassment.

Emotional or psychological abuse refers to verbal or nonverbal behaviors that inflict anguish, mental pain, fear, or distress on an older adult. Examples include humiliation or disrespect, verbal and non-verbal threats, harassment, and geographic or interpersonal isolation.

Neglect (including self-neglect) is the failure to meet an older adult’s basic needs. These needs include food, water, shelter, clothing, hygiene, and essential medical care.

Financial exploitation is the illegal, unauthorized, or improper use of an older adult’s money, benefits, belongings, property, or assets for the benefit of someone other than the older adult.

Important Contact Information

woman sitting with elder in chair

Connect with our services

Center for Elder Abuse and Neglect

To make a referral, inquire about services, or explore education and programming opportunities, call us at 617-363-8423 or contact us online.

Email the Center
woman sitting with senior woman

Statewide resources

Report Elder Abuse and Neglect in Massachusetts

If you’re concerned about the safety of an older adult, use the 24/7 Massachusetts state hotline at 800-922-2275 to report suspected elder abuse or neglect.

File a Report Online
woman sitting with senior woman

We can’t do this without you

Donate to Help Seniors Impacted By Elder Abuse

The Center for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and Neglect is fully supported by our donors. You can help us shelter victims, provide services, and reach community groups.

Give a Gift Now


Increase in annual confirmed Massachusetts cases of elder abuse, 2015-2017

1 in 5

Older adults has experienced elder abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic


Estimated increased incidence of elder abuse since the pandemic