In California, elder abuse refers to harm inflicted on senior citizens ages 65 and up. Often, the harm is unintentional and a result of negligent caretaking. In other instances, though, the harm is deliberately inflicted by someone looking to take advantage of the senior or their checkbook.
We all have elderly loved ones, and it is up to us to advocate for them when they can’t do so for themselves. This means proactively keeping them away from potentially harmful situations and putting a stop to any elder abuse we discover.
Types of Elder Abuse
When you hear the term “abuse,” your mind likely jumps straight to physical harm. In truth, though, this is just one of many forms elder abuse can take. Here are the three core forms of elder abuse I see in my legal practice:
- Physical abuse, such as underfeeding, isolating, hitting, sexually molesting, or failing to take care of an elder’s physical needs
- Emotional or psychological abuse, which refers to the neglect of or deliberate worsening of an elder’s mental, emotional, or psychological state
- Financial abuse, meaning manipulating or coercing an elder for one’s own financial gain (for instance, forcing your way into an elder’s will or trust)
No matter the type of abuse you see or suspect, the most important thing you can do right now is speak up. Only by taking action can you put a stop to the abuse, get justice for your loved one, and prevent the same thing from happening to others.