What is Elder Abuse and Neglect?

Types of Elder Abuse

Abuse of elders can take many different forms: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect or abandonment, financial exploitation, or healthcare fraud.
Psychological abuse also known as emotional abuse is when people speak or treat the elderly in a manner that causes emotional pain or distress. Generally, emotional abuse of an elder is a verbal or nonverbal act that causes emotional pain, anguish or distress. Verbal abuse, mental abuse, and psychological abuse all fall into this category.

Examples of emotional elder abuse:

  • Ignoring the elder
  • Isolating the elder from family, friends, and/or activities
  • Blaming the elder
  • Harassment through name-calling, cursing, humiliating, insulting or ridiculing the elder
  • Threatening (intimidating) the elder
  • Mistreatment of the elder
  • Yelling or screaming
  • Using extreme or bizarre forms of punishment

Confinement, isolation, denial of essential services all falls under elder neglect. Failing to provide or pay for the necessities of life, like food, water, shelter, clothing, healthcare, medicine, comfort, and safety are all neglect of an elder by a caregiver.
Psychological neglect or emotional neglect is shown by a lack of rudimentary emotional support, respect and love.

Examples of elder neglect:

  • Ignoring moans or calls for help
  • Disregarding the elder’s need for affection
  • Failure to provide necessary therapy or medications (for depression, etc)
  • Isolating an elder from the outer world by restricting phone calls, mail, visitors, etc
  • Not assisting elders in activities or not letting them participate

Please view the Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect section of our website to read more about elder abuse, the signs and symptoms.