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What Qualifies as Elder Abuse

Disabled with walker on the outsideStudies show that about one in every ten people over the age of 60 in the United States have been victims of abuse. Almost universally, the perpetrator is a family member, either a spouse or an adult child. Experts say the number of actual cases of elder abuse may be much higher than believed, as they estimate that only about 7% of such incidents are disclosed.

The Centers for Disease Control has established guidelines for identifying what constitutes elder abuse. Here are the highlights of their definition:

  • Elder abuse may take the form of physical, psychological, emotional or sexual abuse, and it may result for neglect or abandonment.
  • Elder abuse can also manifest as financial abuse or exploitation, where a person obtains access to funds without authorization and uses them for personal benefit, profit or gain. This may include outright theft, or it can take the form of coercion, undue influence, duress or misrepresentation.
  • Physical abuse may range from pushing, shoving or restraining someone against their will or from assault with a deadly weapon
  • Psychological or emotional abuse may include threats of violence, deprivation of food or water or other necessities of life, controlling behavior, social isolation or the destruction of property. It may also involve ridiculing, belittling or demeaning the elder in speech, gesture or by other means.
  • Sexual abuse includes any type of non-consensual sexual act, from fondling and viewing to penetration, and may include groping or similar acts through clothing.
  • Neglect involves failing to provide basic emotional, psychological, physical or social needs, as well as failing to protect the senior from known dangers. Common examples include failure to provide adequate nutrition, hydration, clothing, hygiene or shelter, as well as access to reasonable medical treatment.

Contact Aronberg, Kouser, Snyder & Lindemann, P. A.

At Aronberg, Kouser, Snyder & Lindemann, P. A., our attorneys have more than 35 years of experience protecting the rights of men and women in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. For a confidential meeting, contact us online or call our office at 856-429-1700. Your first consultation is free of charge.

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