Types of Elder Abuse

Elderly people have the disadvantage of vulnerability, making them susceptible to acts of violence (physical and verbal) and crimes like theft or fraud. Not knowing much about technology also makes it more likely for them to trust people with their sensitive details so access to their assets and accounts can be granted accidentally. Conning elderly people is easier than the younger population making them a victim of this too. This is why we have so many different fields of elder law. To protect from violence and fraudulent activity, but also a preventative like estate planning, so everyone knows where they stand before someone’s passing, so there is no fighting after one’s death. This enables the elder to plan who they want to give what, and how to process things, with the help of a lawyer they can feel at peace and organized towards the end of their life.

Physical Abuse
Physical abuse is non-accidental use of force that results in physical pain, injury, or impairment. It can include hitting, shoving, the inappropriate use of drugs, restraints, or confinement.

Warning Signs of Physical Abuse:

  • Unexplained bruises, welts, or scars
  • Broken bones, sprains, or dislocations
  • Drug overdose
  • Broken eyeglasses or frames
  • Rope marks on wrists

Financial Exploitation
Financial Exploitation is the unauthorized use of an elderly person’s funds or property, either by a caregiver or an outside scam artist.

Warning Signs of Scams:

  • Change in banking patterns
  • Missing credit card statements
  • Missing cash
  • Missing property/jewelry
  • Isolation
  • The deal of a lifetime – to good to be true
  • New “Best Friends”
  • Expensive gifts to others
  • Unpaid bills despite having money

Emotional Abuse
Emotional Abuse happens when a person inflicts emotional suffering on another. It can include yelling, threats, and destruction of property.

Warning Signs of Emotional Abuse:

  • Hesitant to talk freely
  • Seems frightened or confused
  • Suffers from low self-esteem
  • Apologizes or tries too hard to please
  • Tells improbable stories
  • Goes into fits of inappropriate anger

Sexual Abuse
Sexual Abuse occurs when a senior is subjected to unwanted or non-consensual sexual contact.

Warning Signs of Sexual Abuse:

  • Severe depression/unusually quiet
  • Soiled bedding and undergarments
  • Unusual bruising in private areas

Neglect By Caregivers
Neglect occurs when a person responsible for providing care to an elder fails to do so. Elder neglect may include denying someone food, proper medication, clean clothes, daily hygiene or medical attention.

Warning Signs of Neglect:

  • Exposure to safety hazards
  • Absence from family gatherings
  • Caregiver is always present and speaks for the elder
  • Isolated from family and friends


  • Never give personal information to a stranger
  • Reconcile bills and accounts
  • Estate planning
  • Don’t rush in
  • Use a locking mailbox
  • Check your credit report
  • Screen your telephone calls – JUST HANG UP
  • Shred your mail
  • Avoid filling out contest entry forms
  • Watch the news

Elder Abuse Resource Links
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