Adults over 70 are one of the fastest growing populations in the U.S.  Unfortunately, many of these individuals are reaching a point where they can no longer care for themselves.  For the husbands, wives, and adult children of those who can no longer live on their own, this often means placing our loved ones in a nursing home or assisted living facility.

You have every right to expect that your loved ones will be properly taken care of by the nursing homes and assisted living facilities paid to look after them.  But the shocking truth is that elder abuse is on the rise today with more than 6 million new cases reported in the past three years, and studies show a far greater number of elder abuse cases go unreported.

Here at The Scott Law Firm, PLLC our attorneys are dedicated to seeing the rising tide of elder abuse turned.  We aim to help not only our clients who suspect that a loved one is the victim of elder abuse, but also to empower the husbands, wives, and adult children in our community with information that will help them recognize the signs of elder abuse and prevent it from occurring.

If you suspect that a loved one is a victim of elder abuse, or would like to receive information about how you can prevent elder abuse from occurring in your community, contact us by completing our online form or simply give us a call and our attorneys will be happy to speak with you.


Below are answers to frequently asked questions about elder abuse.

What is elder abuse?

There is no universally accepted definition of the term “elder abuse.”  However, health professionals generally agree that elder abuse can take the form of any one of following examples:

  • Physical Abuse resulting in signs of injury such as bruises, sprains, fractures, or cuts and scratches, as well as inappropriate use of drugs and/or restraints.
  • Neglect, for example, bed sores and untreated wounds, gum and dental disease, repeated infections, ignoring requests for assistance, abandonment, etc.
  • Psychological and Emotional Abuse such as bullying, intimidating, threatening, humiliating, ridiculing, terrorizing, ignoring, isolating, or precluding an individual from activities.
  • Financial Abuse such as inappropriate use of an elder’s personal checks, credit cards, savings, or investment accounts, as well as stealing, forgery, and/or identity theft.
  • Healthcare Fraud including charges for services and products that are withheld or over charging for services or products, taking kick-backs, over-and under medicating, recommending fraudulent or unnecessary remedies, Medicaid fraud, etc.
  • Sexual Abuse including, but not limited to, inappropriate physical contact, physical contact without prior consent, forced exposure to pornography.

What are the signs of elder abuse?

Elder abuse frequently occurs out of the sight of husbands, wives, and adult children who have placed their elderly loved ones under the care of nursing homes or assisted living facilities.  As a result, signs of elder abuse are frequently overlooked.  Still, healthcare professionals suggest looking for the following:

Physical Abuse

  • Broken bones, sprains, and dislocations.
  • Unexplained signs of an injury such as bruising, welts, or scars.
  • Symmetrical bruising and welts on both wrists, arms, legs, ankles, or shoulders.
  • Drug overdose or withholding a prescribed medicine.
  • Broken eyeglasses.
  • Marks from restraints on limbs.


  • Abnormal weight loss, malnutrition, or dehydration.
  • Untreated sores and wounds.
  • Poor personal hygiene, for example, in obvious need of a bath, unwashed hair, un-brushed teeth, unclipped nails, etc.
  • Unsanitary living conditions such as soiled garments, signs of rodent or insect infestation, poor housekeeping of room and toilet, etc.
  • Inappropriate clothing for weather/temperature.
  • The elder is frequently left unattended.

Psychological & Emotional Abuse

  • In addition to the above, signs include habitual rocking, thumb sucking, mumbling; and/or
  • Nonverbal signs of fright at the sight of caregiver such as big eyes, trying to make self smaller, touch avoidance, etc.

Financial Exploitation

  • Misuse of funds such as personal checks, credit cards, or bank accounts.
  • Stealing cash and personal valuables such as jewelry, artwork, or clothing.
  • Forgery of signature.
  • Identity theft.
  • Embezzlement from investment accounts.

Sexual Abuse

  • Inappropriate use of sexually loaded language.
  • Inappropriate touching.
  • Subjecting the elderly to sexually explicit images or acts.

Are there any additional signs of elder abuse I should look for?

  • A caregiver who is reluctant to leave you alone with an elder person.
  • A caregiver who is frequently argumentative or verbally abusive.
  • The elder becomes tense or nervous when a caregiver is present.
  • The elder displays a noticeable change in their customary behavior and/or personality (e.g. agitation, withdrawal, etc.).

Disclaimer: Web content is not legal advice.  Using this website and/or any of the information contained herein does not establish an attorney-client relationship.  You may not rely upon, nor should you act on, the information contained on this website without first consulting with an attorney who is licensed to practice law in the appropriate jurisdiction and is familiar with the facts in your individual situation.  To learn more about how The Scott Law Firm, PLLC can assist you or a friend with a legal matter, contact us today for a free consultation!