As defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, elder abuse “is an intentional act or failure to act that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult. An older adult is someone age 60 or older. The abuse often occurs at the hands of a caregiver or a person the elder trusts.”
The Elder Justice Act defines elder abuse as the knowing infliction of physical or psychological harm or the knowing deprivation of goods or services that are necessary to meet essential needs or to avoid physical or psychological harm. “Elder” means an individual age 60 or older.
All 50 states have some form of elder abuse prevention laws. Laws and definitions of elder abuse vary by state. State statutes are accessible through this link.
Elder mistreatment typically takes one of the following forms: physical abuse, psychological or emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, and neglect. Older adults may also experience maltreatment in the form of self-neglect and/or abandonment. The types of abuse are defined below.
Note: Definitions of maltreatment align with federal statutes, when applicable. Where statutory authority is unavailable, definitions derive from research in the field of elder abuse.
Last Modified: 11/28/2023