Life Advice



Ask Amy: Neighbors overhear verbal elder abuse

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: Our house is about 20 feet, wall-to-wall, from the next house.

Pre-pandemic, we only knew our next-door neighbors by name and exchanged occasional greetings.

The neighbors are an elderly gentleman, being cared for by his elderly daughter. She had mentioned that her father suffers from dementia. Her father is physically impaired and dependent on a walker.

Since reducing our world to the confines of our house and backyard, we hear the daughter screaming at her father at the top of her lungs, almost daily, very early in the morning.

While we can’t hear every word, she uses epithets and sounds verbally abusive.

He is visited by a home health care aide several times a week. Despite the health care visits, we think we may be the only people who know about this behavior, other than father and daughter.


Is there anything you would recommend that we can do to help them?

We fear anything we say could make it worse.

– Worried Neighbors

Dear Worried: Every state has a mandated office of Adult Protective Services (APS). APS a social service program authorized by law to receive and investigate reports of elder or vulnerable adult maltreatment, and to intervene to protect the victims.


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