Types of abuse and signs of abuse

Elder abuse can take various forms, such as physical abuse, psychological or emotional abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. Psychological and financial are the two most common types of abuse.

Psychological abuse

Psychological abuse can include:
  • verbal abuse, name-calling, bullying and harassment;
  • treating an older person like a child;
  • threatening to withdraw affection;
  • threatening to put them in a nursing home; and
  • stopping an older person from seeing family and friends.
Signs of psychological abuse include withdrawal, paranoia and anxiety.

Financial abuse

Financial abuse can include:
  • incurring bills for which an older person is responsible;
  • stealing money or goods;
  • abusing power of attorney arrangements;
  • refusing to repay a loan;
  • living with someone without helping to pay for expenses;
  • failing to care for someone after agreeing to do so in exchange for money or property; and
  • forcing someone to sign a will, contract or power of attorney document.
Signs of financial abuse include:
  • disappearing belongings
  • inability to pay bills
  • significant withdrawals of cash
  • changes to a Will
  • stock piling bills
  • no food in fridge
  • cancelling community services

Physical and sexual abuse

Physical and sexual abuse can include:
  • pushing, shoving and rough handling; and
  • sexual assault.


Neglect includes failing to provide someone with such things as food, shelter or medical care.

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