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What is elder abuse and how to spot it?

Elder abuse is the intentional act, or intentional failure to act, by a person who is in a trusted relationship with someone who is above the age of 60 years old, as described by the World Health Organisation.

The act or failure to act is considered a form of elder abuse whether it was a singular or repeated act. Elder abuse comes in many forms and can sometimes be difficult to identify. It encompasses the following:

Emotional or Psychological abuse

Emotional or psychological abuse is an act where the older person feels threatened or in fear of the abuser. This can include feeling intimidated and pressured to make influenced financial decisions, feeling defenceless, alone or isolated.

Elder neglect

This results in leaving the older person without the bare necessities. This type of abuse limits access to food, water and medical attention. The perpetrator also limits the ability for others to provide for or contact the elder person.

Physical abuse

This type of abuse is the same that is known or recognised towards any other individual under the age of 60 years. It encompasses the forceful and intentional act and infliction of pain and or restraint.

Sexual abuse

This may make an elderly person feel uncomfortable through the act of rape, sexual assault, sexual language and even pornography.

Financial abuse

This is one of the most common types of elder abuse and can be identified as the improper use and mismanagement of an elderly person’s money and property. It may involve the swindling of money for the perpetrator’s own personal gain, preventing the elder person from accessing their finances or even the elder person giving the abuser money as a result of a threat.

The effects of elder abuse can be quite damaging to the victims and their loved ones. If you feel as though you have been subject to any type of elder abuse or know someone that has, please contact our team at MCW Lawyers on 02 9589 6666, or email us at or click here to contact us online.


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