What is Elder Abuse?

The Elder Abuse Law, enacted in Massachusetts in 1983, defines elder abuse as any act or omission which results in serious physical or emotional injury to, or financial exploitation of, an elder. This includes:

  • Physical Abuse: non-accidental use of physical force that results in bodily injury, pain, impairment, or emotional distress
  • Sexual Abuse: single or multiple non-consensual sexual acts, unwanted exposure to the offender’s sexual behavior, taking advantage of a caregiver role to gain sexual satisfaction, or sexual exploitation and threats
  • Emotional Abuse: non-accidental infliction of serious emotional injury including severe anxiety, fear, depression, or withdrawal
  • Neglect: intentional or non-intentional failure by a caregiver to provide one or more of the necessities essential for physical, intellectual, and emotional well-being, such as food, shelter, medical, or personal care
  • Financial Exploitation: the non-accidental act or omission by another person without the consent of the elder which causes substantial monetary or property loss to the elder, or substantial monetary or property gain to the other person
  • Self-Neglect: The failure of an elder to provide for her or himself the essentials for physical well-being.