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How to determine what counts as elder abuse

If you have a loved one living with a caregiver or in an assisted-care facility, you may hear stories you’re not sure what to do about. If you’re not quite sure whether you’ve got a case of elder abuse on your hands or simple disagreement, here are a few guidelines to follow.


One indication of elder abuse is if caregivers restrict an elder person from contacting friends and loved ones or spending any time with them while unsupervised. If you are noticing that a caregiver is restricting your loved one’s access to privacy, you should be concerned.

However, in some situations, the boundaries may be set for other reasons. For example, if you are hearing that your caregiver is restricting your loved one’s access to a recreational center after it has closed, this should not constitute worry.


One of the most common ways to take advantage of elderly people is through financial scams. It’s important to make sure when your loved one is being charged money, it’s for good reason. Charges required for special outings, trips or services would make sense.

However, if your loved one is being charged regularly, you should look into where exactly the money is going. Especially in cases where an elderly person is not completely technologically literate, they may be falsely convinced that their payments are required by the IRS or another fake service.


For those who need close care, they may require a caregiver to help them remember and attend certain events. A caregiver who forgets to bring your loved one to a card club once is not necessarily committing elder abuse.

However, you may consider it elder abuse if the person habitually neglects to carry out responsibilities, such as these. Of course, if the caregiver neglects to give your loved one medication in the correct fashion, their meals, or other basic necessities, this “forgetfulness” is a crime if it causes your loved one harm.

Get a second opinion

To get a second opinion about your unique circumstance, contact an attorney who specializes in elder abuse cases. A lawyer can help you understand when an elder person’s rights have been infringed upon and how to seek justice for it.

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  • Canhr | Elder Justice Advocates
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