Abuse of elderly people came to public awareness in the 1970s. Since that time, programs have been initiated to help combat the problem. Each state has legislation for reporting abuse. However, abuse of the elderly often goes unreported due to ignorance, fear, or lack of concern. Public education and intervention strategies appear to be the answer to abuse of the elderly. Nurses, who spend more time with patients than do any other healthcare professionals, are in an ideal position to identify, intervene in, report, and generally lead the way in preventing abuse of the elderly.