What Are Some Examples of Elder Abuse and Neglect?

Every situation is unique. Examples of types of mistreatment are:

1) Mrs. Rose’s 37-year-old son, Derek, who has a drug problem, pulled a fist full of his mother’s hair out of her head during an argument when she refused to give him money.

  • Physical Abuse is any behavior that results (or is likely to result) in injuries to the body, such as bruises, cuts, or broken bones. Examples include hitting, pushing, beating or forcibly restraining. These behaviors also instill great fear in the person being hurt.

2) Mr. Koff’s 44 year-old-mentally ill daughter, Karen, threatened to rip the phone out of the wall and nail his bedroom door shut while he sleeps if her father didn’t let her boyfriend spend the night.

  • Psychological/Emotional Abuse is any verbal or non-verbal behavior that causes fear, mental anguish, or emotional pain. Examples include name-calling, “the silent treatment,” insults, threats, isolating the individual or treating him/her like a child, and controlling behavior.

3) Mrs. Goffard’s 21-year-old granddaughter, Ivy, sold her grandmother’s jewelry without permission and used the money to pay back a debt to her friend.

  • Financial Abuse/Exploitation is any behavior that causes you harm through the illegal or improper use of your funds, property, or assets. Examples include coercing the change of a will, bank account, or property transfer, using cash or credit cards without permission or knowledge, or forging signatures on checks.

4) Mrs. Noonan’s 32-year-old stepson forced her to watch pornography with him and exposed himself.

  • Sexual Abuse is any behavior that hurts you sexually or includes unwanted sexual content without your consent. Examples include inappropriate touching, fondling, or kissing, rape, taking photographs in sexually explicit ways, or exposing you to explicit sexual content without your approval.

5) Mr. Simon is cared for by his overwhelmed 51-year-old daughter,Tasha, who often yells at him. She blames her father for ruining her life and is frequently too busy or “forgets” to give her father dinner.

  • Neglect is when a caregiver fails to provide basic care needs, resulting in bedsores, dehydration, poor hygiene, or poor nutritional status. Examples include withholding food, water, clothing, medication, or help with personal hygiene, or abandonment.


This resource provides brief, general information about this topic. It does not take the place of specific instructions you may receive from health care or service providers. Copyright NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital 2006. All rights reserved.