How to Prove Elder Abuse


The elderly are often at a heightened risk of abuse from their caregivers. Due to the mental and physical limitations that come with age, the elderly are sometimes exploited and neglected. When this abuse comes to light, it is important to gather the proper evidence and contact local authorities in order for the perpetrator to be located and punished. The exact procedure will vary depending on the specific instance of injustice being addressed, but these simple steps will generally serve as a guide for proving that abuse of an elder has occurred.

  • Call the local authorities immediately if there is an elder who you suspect is in immediate or life-threatening danger. In the case of protracted abuse, the police must get involved as soon as possible.

  • Learn what constitutes abuse in your state. Luckily, every state in the United States has enacted legislation defining the criminality of elder abuse and outlining what is relevant as examples of exploitation of older members of society. In most states, this legislation includes domestic, institutional and financial abuse. Under federal law, all of these types of abuse, if proven, provide cause for entrance into Adult Protective Services.

  • Reach out to a local help line or group specializing in elder abuse. These groups will be able to provide you with assistance as you gather evidence of the neglect and formulate your plan of action.

  • Gather information regarding the specific incident or incidents in which elder abuse occurred. If the senior in question is capable of providing their own testimony, this will often be relatively straightforward. In many of the most tragic cases of elder abuse, however, if the victim is unable to provide their own testimony, you may wish to get in contact with caregivers, doctors, relatives or anyone else who may have seen signs of the abuse.

  • Contact a lawyer who specializes in elder abuse. Due to the variations in state legislation regarding the exact nature of what constitutes elder abuse and who is eligible for support from Adult Protective Services, the help of a lawyer who is familiar with cases of this nature can be invaluable. Look for someone who has a strong track record of winning similar cases.

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