Updated February 18, 2020

What Is Nursing Home and Elder Abuse?

Abuse is a frightening and common reality for elders across the United States. The victims are often silent, whether due to fear of retaliation, embarrassment, social isolation, or communication difficulties. While some seek assistance, the percentage is too low.

The first step to identifying elder abuse is learning its definition.

What Is Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse is difficult to define, with various organizations and governmental offices using a different definition. However, in general, elder abuse refers to any form of mistreatment—whether by an intentional act or failure to act—that results in harm or loss to an older adult.

An older adult is usually considered to be someone age 60 or older, although some researchers may consider 55 or 65 as the starting point.


Elder abuse takes many forms, including the following types:

  • Physical abuse (slapping, choking, burning, etc.)
  • Sexual abuse (rape, molestation, harassment, etc.)
  • Emotional or psychological abuse (name-calling, threatening, isolation, etc.)
  • Neglect (lack of food or water, unsafe environment, etc.)
  • Financial abuse or exploitation (theft of money or possessions, improper use of power of attorney, etc.)

Be on the lookout for the warning signs of all types of elder abuse.


Abusers can be anyone from a friend or family member to a healthcare professional or trusted caretaker. Unfortunately, according to the National Council on Aging, statistics show that family members are perpetrators 60 percent of the time, with nearly two-thirds being adult children or spouses.


While elder abuse occurs most frequently in the senior victim’s own home, it can happen in a variety of places: a loved one’s home, an assisted living facility, a caregiver’s residence, or a nursing home.

What Is Nursing Home Abuse?

Nursing home abuse is elder abuse that takes place in a nursing home or other long-term care facility. Any type of elder abuse can fall under nursing home abuse if it occurs in such a facility. Additional perpetrators include staff members, nurses, doctors, employees, visitors, or even other residents.

Contact a Nursing Home and Elder Abuse Attorney Today

If you suspect that your elderly loved one is being abused, contact the Indianapolis Nursing Home and Elder Abuse Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The experienced lawyers at WKW can help you and your family fight for the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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Let WKW put our experience to work for you. Contact us for your free case evaluation.


Or, call us today at (317) 920-6400

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