American Judges Association


Date of this Version



Court Review, Volume 53, Issue 2 (2017)


Copyright American Judges Association. Used by permission.


The crime of elder abuse takes many forms: financial, emotional, sexual, and physical abuse, as well as neglect. In many (perhaps most) circumstances, multiple forms coexist and this is referred to as poly victimization. As in child abuse and domestic violence, people who are victimized tend to be vulnerable for a variety of reasons that span from physical to cognitive to psychological domains. This article outlines several aspects of age-related physical changes and highlights those features of aging that can make an older adult susceptible to elder abuse and neglect. We will go on to describe physical manifestations and laboratory markers, as well as the role of medication in abuse and neglect. Finally, we will address the topic of capacity. Throughout the article, we will indicate how knowledge in these areas can enhance the functions of the court in cases of suspected elder abuse and neglect.