Updated February 20, 2020

Where Does Elder Abuse Happen?

Elder abuse isn’t limited to just nursing homes—it can happen anywhere an elderly person lives or spends time. Place such as the elder’s home, the home of a relative, an assisted living facility, a nursing home, or hospice care are all environments where abuse can occur.

It’s up to you to be an advocate for your elderly loved one. Wherever the abuse might occur, file a report and contact an attorney.

How Does Elder Abuse Occur in Home Settings?

Elders who live at their home or in the home of a relative are often entirely dependent on the care of nonprofessional caregivers such as adult children, grandchildren, spouses, partners, or other family members. They may also have access to live-in nurses or professional at-home caregivers.

Regardless of who provides care in a home setting, caring for an elder can be stressful and exhausting. Unfortunately, caregivers experiencing the escalating demands of a deteriorating condition are susceptible to neglecting or lashing out at the elder in their care.

In addition, if there was a history of domestic violence in the home, it could escalate, whether in retaliation for violence committed by the elder or a continuation of violence against the elder.

What Institutional and Paid Care Environments Can Elder Abuse Happen?

Institutional settings where elders or their families pay for care, are also areas where abuse can take place. In fact, according to 2018 statistics by the World Health Organization, rates of elder abuse in institutional environments are high, with two in three staff members reporting that they committed abuse in the past year.

Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living facilities have a high level of socialization for residents in comparison with other long-term care homes. Elders living in these facilities can still take care of themselves for the most part, but they may require assistance with daily tasks or personal care.

Elders in assisted living facilities interact with their family and friends, staff members, and other residents. Although they are relatively independent, abuse can still occur.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes, also called long-term care facilities or extended care facilities, are meant for elders who require a high level of daily medical care. They are staffed with nurses, nursing aides, dieticians, therapists, social workers, and other professionals committed to the care of their residents.

However, factors such as poor training, understaffing, and stress are commonplace among staff and can lead to an abusive environment.

Hospice Care

The Nursing Home Abuse Center estimates that more than one in three nursing home residents receive hospice care.

Hospice care is meant to reduce stress and pain at the end of a person’s life, with a shift from curing to caring. Elders in hospice often have less than six months to live and rely on a team of physicians, nurses, aides, counselors, and others.

This dependency on staff members puts elders in a vulnerable position. Neglect can lead to serious consequences or premature death, or aides could fabricate close bonds with terminally ill elders to gain control of their finances.

What Other Spaces Can Elder Abuse Occur?

Not all elder abuse takes place in physical environments or even face-to-face. Abuse can occur via the Internet, over the phone, or through the mail.


Caregivers and nursing home staff have abused elders online in new and degrading ways. Social media, for example, is a tool commonly used in an abusive manner. It has been used to share humiliating videos or photos of elders who are naked or in distress.

Telephone or Mail

The elderly are particularly vulnerable to financial abuse such as fraud, cons, and scams. Abusers can trick elders into giving access to their finances or property over the phone or through the mail.

Contact a Nursing Home and Elder Abuse Attorney Today

If you suspect that your elderly loved one is being abused or neglected, contact the Indianapolis Nursing Home and Elder Abuse Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you and your family get 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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