The 7 Types of Elder Exploitation (And How To Protect Your Loved One Against Them)

If you have an elder loved one in your life, it is important to listen to what they have to say and stay aware of their condition and attitude. Elder exploitation and abuse is one of the most overlooked forms of abuse worldwide. It is common that an elder experiencing abuse may not want to admit their circumstance to a loved one, either. You have to stay alert.

Here are the 7 different types of elder exploitation and abuse, and warning signs relating to each you should look out for:


Physical elder abuse is the violent use of force against an elder. It is more common than you might believe. Warning signs of physical elder abuse include bruises, sprains, tooth loss, unexplained injuries, and withdrawal from social situations.


Emotional elder abuse is intentional psychological harm that leads to mental distress or fear in an elder. It may come in the form of intimidation, humiliation, insults, or threats. Warning signs of emotional elder abuse include low self-esteem, self-isolation, mood swings, avoiding eye contact, and changed sleeping or eating patterns.


Financial elder abuse is exploitation of an elder’s resources, usually by someone they trust. Financial elder abuse is the most commonly reported form of elder abuse. Warning signs of financial elder abuse include ignorance of finances, missing resources or belongings, unpaid bills, and unexplained bank withdrawals.


Sexual elder abuse is unwanted sexual interaction in any way whatsoever with an elder. Elders with a disability are especially vulnerable, since they cannot always protect themselves or report the abuse. Warning signs of sexual elder abuse include injuries, problems walking or sitting, torn clothing, and bleeding.


Elder neglect is when a caretaker intentionally denies an elder the attention they need. It can happen often in crowded nursing homes or from caretakers with several patients. Warning signs of elder neglect include unchanged clothing, lack of medical care, lack of hygiene, and poor nutrition.


Elder abandonment is when someone who takes care of an elder abandons them completely. They can be left at a hospital, nursing home, or with family members, often without plans or compensation. Warning signs of elder abandonment include confusion, depression, poor hygiene, and dehydration.


Elder self-neglect is when an elder is no longer able (or willing) to take care of themselves. It is the most commonly overlooked form of elder abuse. It is especially common in elders who live by themselves. Warning signs of self-neglect include unclean clothing, poor hygiene, unpaid bills, lack of food, weight loss, and a messy home.

What To Do If You Need Help

At Zamora, Hillman & Villavicencio, we believe in protecting long-term futures. Taking care of elder loved ones means staying aware of the different forms of elder exploitation and abuse and looking for the warning signs. If you suspect an elder loved one may be in trouble, contact Zamora, Hillman & Villavicencio today! We help you navigate uncharted waters.

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Zamora, Hillman & Villavicencio

Our firm deals with legal matters involving your loved ones, and our familial operation is prepared to give you caring and effective counsel during what might be a difficult or emotional time.

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