Elder & Dependent Adult Abuse
The abuse of any person aged 65 or older is considered to be elder abuse while the abuse of a dependent adult between 18 and 64 years of age is considered to be dependent adult abuse. Older and dependent adults experience crimes that can happen to anyone, but crimes against these groups have harsher penalties.
– The State Bar of California. (2007).
What Should I Know About Elder Abuse?
- What is Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse?
- Forms of Abuse
- Who is Required Report Abuse
- Resources & More Information
What is Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse?
As with other forms of abuse, the abuse of older individuals and dependent adults involves tactics of power and control. These acts fall into the categories of physical, psychological, financial, and neglect. The abuse of any person aged 65 or older is considered to be elder abuse while the abuse of a dependent adult between 18 and 64 years of age is considered to be dependent adult abuse. Older and dependent adults experience crimes that can happen to anyone, but crimes against these groups have harsher penalties.
The State Bar of California. (2007).
What Should I Know About Elder Abuse?
Forms of Abuse
Physical abuse involves the non-accidental injury, pain or impairment to an elder or dependent adult. The inappropriate use of drugs, restraints and confinement also constitutes physical abuse. Read more.
Some possible signs of physical abuse of an elderly person or dependent adult include bruises, welts, loss of weight, dehydration or malnourishment and an injury that does not seem to fit its explanation (Elder Abuse Prevention) .
Financial abuse is a form of abuse commonly associated with older adults. Financial abuse occurs when a person’s finances are improperly used. Read more.
Some clues that an elder or dependent adult may be experiencing financial abuse include checks with signatures that do not match the signature of the elder or dependent adult; having unpaid bills, when someone is responsible for paying the bills; and missing personal belongings (Elder Abuse Prevention) .
Other signs of possible financial abuse include a recent reverse mortgage, purchase of annuity and the refinancing of a home (D. Aindow, personal communication, 2009)
Emotional abuse includes verbal assaults, threats and intimidation. It also can involve subjecting an elder or dependent adult to serious emotional distress and fear. Read More.
As with physical abuse, emotional abuse is an intentional and deliberate act on the part of another person to impose mental suffering on an elder or dependent adult (Elder Abuse Prevention) .
Abuse or Neglect by Caregiver
Elder and dependent adults may also experience abuse or neglect by their caregiver. Some signs that may indicate possible abuse are when a caregiver displays aggressive behavior toward an elder or dependent adult, is unwilling to cooperate with other service providers in planning for care, or when there are conflicting reports of an incident by family, friends or the victim. An elder or dependent adult may be neglected by a caregiver if they are not receiving adequate health care, have unattended rashes, bedsores or lice, or are not properly clothed (Elder Abuse Prevention) .
Aside from neglect from an elderly or dependent adult’s caregiver, an elderly or dependent adult may also experience self-neglect. This involves refusing medical or personal care or not attending to one’s own needs. Read More.
While it may not necessarily be a crime to neglect oneself, it is a red flag that an elder or dependent adult may need a higher level of care.
 Elder Abuse Prevention. n.d. Information and Resource Guide. (pamphlet).
Who is required to report elder and dependent adult abuse?
The mistreatment of any individual is cause for concern in any community, but with regards to elder and dependent adult abuse, certain individuals are required by law to report the suspected abuse or neglect of elderly and dependent adults.
According to California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 15630, mandated reporters of elder and dependent adult abuse include staff of a public or private facility that provides services to elder or dependent adults, clergy members, health practitioners, and others. Read More.
You can also report elder and dependent adult abuse to your local police department.
In addition, employees of financial institutions are required to report suspected financial abuse (The State Bar of California, 2007) .
Report suspected elder or dependent adult abuse in Alameda County
- Alameda County Social Services Agency
Phone: (510) 577-3500 or 1-866-Call APS (follow cues)
- District Attorney’s Elder Abuse Unit
Phone: (510) 569-9281
For suspected abuse in a nursing home or residential care.
Phone: (510) 638-6878
- California Mandatory Reporting Requirements Regarding Elders/Disabled – RAINN
California Elder Mandatory Reporting (PDF)
 The State Bar of California. (2007). What Should I Know About Elder Abuse? (pamphlet).
Resources & More Information
Legal Assistance for Seniors
Educating seniors, providers and caregivers throughout Alameda County on Medicare, related health insurance issues and various legal subjects. Can assist with stay away orders.
Phone: (510) 832-3040
Senior Information & Assistance (throughout CA)
Phone: (800) 510-2020
Power and Control Wheel for Older People
The Power and Control Wheel for Older People provides examples of what abuse can look like with elder individuals.
An informational booklet that describes the nature of elder abuse, tips for prevention and provides information on how to report suspected abuse.
For information about abuse in nursing homes: Nursinghomeabusecenter.com/resources/lgbt/