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Causes and types of Elder Abuse according to William C. Behrndt

December 5, 2011

Not only are children the victims of neglect and abuse, the elderly are victims too. There are various types of neglect and abuse that elderly persons endure.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse occurs when an elder person is touched in an inappropriate way. This type of abuse consists of intentional infliction of physical harm of an elder person. Examples of physical abuse include hitting, punching, kicking and pushing. Physical abuse often leaves marks on the person’s body and is usually obvious to the eye. Physical abuse may occur at the elder person’s home or in a nursing home. Some indicators of physical abuse are:

Signs of physical trauma.
Repeated inconsistent or unexplained injuries.
Numerous visits to the emergency room.
Material and Financial Abuse

Material and financial abuse occurs when an elder person is the victim of misuse, misappropriation, or exploitation of assets. Indicators of material and financial abuse include:

Unusual banking activity, such as large withdrawals or switching money from account to account.
New documents signed by the elder person that the elder person couldn’t understand or explain.
Personal items of the elder person go missing.
Improper withholding of cash or assets from the elder person.
Emotional and Psychological Abuse

Emotional or psychological abuse occurs when a caregiver or family member is demeaning towards an elder person. Sometimes individuals treat the elder person like a child or refer to them by abusive names. One may be able to discern if the elder person is a victim of this type of abuse if they are depressed or lack self-confidence. Other facts indicating that the elder person may be a victim of emotional or psychological abuse include:

Nervous behavior.
Anger or agitation.
Emotionally upset or disturbed behavior.
Unable to focus on issues or details.
Negative attitude.
Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse occurs when any sexual activity occurs for which an elder person did not consent to or was incapable of consenting to. The sexual activity may range from exhibitionism to fondling to intercourse.
Possible Causes of Elder Abuse

Abuse of elderly people is quite prevalent. People are living longer and requiring more care in their old age. There are certain circumstances that may lead to elder abuse, although none of the circumstances justify elder abuse. Some circumstances include:

Caregiver stress.
Environmental issues.
Incapacitation of an elderly person.
The elderly person’s dependence on the caregiver for all of their basic personal and financial needs.


Remedies for Elder Abuse

There are numerous agencies, both federal and state, that one could report any elder abuse to.

The Author is employed with the Law Office of William C. Behrndt and writes regularly about legal matters and has an expertise in Family Law, Domestic Violence, Child Custody/Support, Alimony or Spousal Support, Visitation, Property Division, Child/Elder Abuse, General Litigation, Criminal Defense. If you are ever caught in legal wrangles feel free to contact William C. Behrndt at

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