What types of elder abuse exist?

There are six major categories of elder abuse:

1. Physical abuse is inflicting or threatening to inflict the use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment. Physical abuse includes acts such as hitting, beating, pushing, and slapping the person. Inappropriate use of drugs and physical restraints and force-feeding are also examples of physical abuse. Physical abuse accounts for over 15% of elder abuse cases.
Warning signs:

  • Bruises
  • Black eyes
  • Broken bones
  • Open wounds and cuts
  • Internal bleeding
  • A sudden change of behavior in the elder
  • Caregiver’s refusal to allow lone visitors.


2. Emotional or psychological abuse is defined as the infliction of anguish, pain, or distress through verbal or non-verbal acts, including but not limited to insults, threats, humiliation, and harassment. Treating the older person like an infant and enforced social isolation are common examples of emotional and psychological elder abuse.
Warning signs:

  • Expressions of agitation and withdrawal from the older person
  • Unusual behavior such as sucking or rocking typically attributed to dementia.


3. Sexual abuse includes non-consensual sexual contact of any kind with a vulnerable elderly person. All types of sexual assault and battery, as well as acts such as unwanted touching, rape, and coerced nudity, are considered sexual abuse.
Warning signs:

  • Bruises around breasts and genitals
  • Unexplained sexual transmitted diseases or bleeding
  • Torn clothing


4. Financial/material exploitation and abuse is defined as the illegal or improper use of a senior’s funds, property, or assets. Acts of financial abuse include using the elder’s checks without permission, stealing money, coercing an older person to sign contracts or a will, and improper use of guardianship or power of attorney.
Warning signs:

  • Unexplained withdrawals of large sums of money from bank accounts
  • Abrupt changes in a will
  • Unexplained bank transfers
  • The inclusion of additional names on signature cards


5. Neglect accounts for the majority (58%) of elder abuse cases. Neglect involves refusal or failure by caretakers to fulfill obligation and duties related to the care and protection of an elderly person. This may include the failure to provide for basic necessities such as food, shelter, clothing, personal hygiene, safety, and medication, but may also involve the failure of a caregiver’s fiduciary responsibilities to properly manage money or pay for services such as home care. Self-neglect is characterized as the behavior of an elderly person to provide for his or her own essential needs.
Warning signs:

  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Bed sores
  • Hazardous or unsanitary living conditions (eg. soiled bedding, no running water)
  • Health problems that are unattended to


6. Abandonment occurs when the elderly person is deserted by a caregiver or the person with physical custody of the elder.
Warning signs:

  • Leaving the older adult at the hospital or in a public location such as a shopping center.

Elder Abuse and Neglect Attorney

The Law Office Of Stewart Levin has successfully handled numerous of cases involving Elder Abuse and Neglect over the last 25 years. Cases for which Mr. Levin has obtained compensation by trial, arbitration, mediation, and settlement include situations involving pressure sores, falls, wandering, sexual assault, wrongful death, assault and battery, dehydration, malnutrition, deprivation of medical care, and personal injury. These cases have occurred at nursing homes, residential care facilities, home health care situations, group homes, during hospice care, and at hospitals. Mr. Levin has used prominent university professors as experts when necessary to prove a point, and he has tried cases to judgment in trial and arbitration.

Get Legal Counsel for Elder Abuse and Neglect Today

If your elderly loved one is exhibiting any of the warning signs detailed above, please give us a call as soon as possible. Let Beverly Hills Elder Law represent your case. To get started, call our office at 310-776-8780 or contact us online.