What Are Elder Abuse Laws?


Quick Answer

Elder abuse laws relate to the neglect, abuse and financial exploitation of the elderly, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. Elder abuse laws can be found under a few different state codes, including probate; business and professional; and welfare codes.

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Full Answer

All 50 states have some sort of elder abuse prevention laws, explains the Administration for Community Living, although these prevention laws vary from state to state. Abuse can be defined as physical or sexual abuse. Physical abuse is the inflection of pain or injury onto an elderly person, such as slapping, bruising or restraining him by chemical or physical means. Sexual abuse is nonconsensual sexual contact. Neglect refers to the failure to provide shelter, health care, food or protection for the elderly who are especially vulnerable. Exploitation refers to illegally taking and misusing funds, or the concealment of property, funds or assets, that belong to an elderly person for someone else's benefit.

Elder laws also cover abandonment, which is the desertion of a vulnerable elder by someone who assumed the custody and care of that individual, notes the Administration for Community Living. Self-neglect is the failure to perform necessary self-care tasks that threaten an elderly person's own safety.

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