The law defines elder abuse as physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction or other treatment with resulting in physical harm or pain or mental suffering, or the deprivation by a care custodian of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering.

Physical Abuse: Assault, battery, sexual assault, battery or rape, prolonged or continual deprivation of food or water, or use of physical or chemical restraints for punishment, convenience or without or beyond the scope of the doctor’s order.

Neglect: The failure to exercise that degree of care that a reasonable person in care providing capacity would exercise such as failure to assist in personal hygiene, provision of food, clothing or shelter, provision of medical care, or to protect from health and safety hazards or to prevent malnutrition or dehydration.

This includes self-neglect; one of the most common forms of abuse occurring in community settings.

Financial Abuse: The illegal or unauthorized taking or using of an elder’s funds, property or assets by an individual or entity.

Mental Suffering: Fear, agitation, confusion, severe depression or other forms of emotional distress that is brought about by threats, harassment, or other forms of intimidating behavior.

Isolation: The intentional preventing or restraining an elder from receiving mail, telephone calls or visitors.

Physical Abuse Indicators:

  • Bruises and discoloration on inner arm/thigh, thumb/fingerprints, choke marks, presence of old and new bruises in the same place, different colored bruises, and suspicious shapes caused by coins, cords or belts used as restraints.
  • Scratches, cuts, pinch marks, cigarette burns, rope burns, and fractures.
  • A physical injury on head, scalp or face, e.g. black eye.