elder abuse

Professional care can be very beneficial for ensuring a family member gets the assistance they need. However, nursing homes and other adult care facilities can pose serious problems for loved ones, including elder abuse and neglect. That is why it is essential that everyone knows how to identify the signs of elder abuse and neglect and understands what actions to take to protect their loved ones.

Recognizing the Signs of Elder Abuse

Elder abuse, which refers to the mistreatment or harming of an elderly individual, may take the form of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. However, neglect and financial exploitation can also be considered forms of elder abuse. Some of the more common signs of this abuse generally include the following:

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse refers to the use of physical force that can result in physical pain, bodily injury, or impairment. This abuse can include things such as shaking, kicking, forced restraints, force-feeding, starvation, or administrating drugs inappropriately. Some warning signs to watch out for include:

  • Bruising
  • Broken bones
  • Rope or strap marks
  • Changes in behavior

Sexual Abuse

This abuse includes any type of nonconsensual sexual acts towards a senior, such as forced nudity, inappropriate touching, and rape. It is also important to note that elderly individuals with substantial cognitive impairment cannot provide sexual consent. 

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse refers to the infliction of pain, anguish, or distress through nonverbal and verbal actions. This can include acts such as:

  • Threats
  • Verbal abuse
  • Insults
  • Harassment
  • Gaslighting


Neglect is usually defined as the refusal to offer a dependent elderly individual necessities such as shelter, medicine, water, food, and hygiene. 

Financial Exploitation 

When an individual mismanages or steals an elderly individual’s possessions or money, it is referred to as financial or material exploitation. This can include cashing checks without permission, coercion, forging signatures, or gross misuse of guardianship or power of attorney.


A more extreme version of neglect, abandonment, is when a caregiver deserts a senior who has assumed responsibility for taking care of the elderly individual. In general, seniors are abandoned after a hospital stay or in their own homes. However, they can also be left in public locations.  


When an elderly individual cannot perform critical self-care tasks because of physical or mental impairment or diminished capacity, it is referred to as self-neglect. 

Examples of self-neglect include refusing to drink, eat, take medication, or perform regular hygiene. However, self-neglect does not include voluntary actions from a mentally stable elderly individual that threaten their safety or life. 

Contact Hollingsworth Law and Get the Legal Help You Need

At Hollingsworth Law, our legal team is dedicated to providing comprehensive legal services tailored to the unique needs of our senior community. 

If you believe that your loved one has been subject to elder abuse, and you want to know more about the help they can receive or what legal options they have, contact Hollingsworth Law to review your questions and learn more about the services our legal team can provide.