Abuse in Later Life Program

Domestic Violence Does Not Respect Age


Any One, Any Age

Domestic violence does not respect age. Abuse in later life occurs in all communities and affects people of all ethnic, cultural, racial, economic, and religious backgrounds.  Abuse in later life is often used as a general term for older individuals who are being harmed emotionally, psychologically, physically, financially, or sexually. Aggressors include spouses and former spouses, partners, adult children, extended family, and in some cases caregivers. There is no single profile of abuse in later life other than abuser characteristics.

They control:

  • where the victim goes
  • who the victim sees
  • what the victim can or cannot do
  • makes all the major decisions
  • exploits property and financial resources
  • has a sense of entitlement to defend behavior
  • blames victim for behavior

Ending a relationship is always difficult, particularly when it is a loved one. Most victims of abuse in later life prefer to maintain some type of relationship with their spouse/partner, family member, or caregiver – they simply want the abuse to end. Older victims may choose to stay with an abuser, often for religious, cultural, generational, or financial reasons but can still benefit from our services. We offer information, support, safety planning and the opportunity to simply talk without an expectation that a decision must be made. Our services are directed by the people we serve.  To speak to an elder advocate, call 207-653-9623 or 1-800-537-6066.

How Can the Abuse in Later Life Program help?

The Abuse in Later Life Program weaves together local resources in a network of support and services to meet the unique needs and goals of the individuals we serve. We collaborate with the Elder Abuse Institute of Maine’s transitional housing program that allows older and elderly women to live at Martha’s Cottage while waiting for more permanent housing.



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The Journey By Mary Oliver*

One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice–

though the whole house began to tremble

and you felt the old tug at your ankles.

‘Mend my life!’each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy was terrible.

It was already late enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

Into the world,

determined to do the only thing you could do–

determined to save

the only life you could save.

*This poem is a non-commercial, personal section of this site, for educational purposes only. “Fair use” is claimed under U.S. copyright law, sections 107 and 108. No commercial use is permitted without the consent of the copyright holder.