Elder abuse

Forms of elder abuse

Physical abuse

• Physical abuse is a physical injury or suffering inflicted on an elder non-accidentally or due to the lack of preventive measures.

Psychological abuse

• Psychological abuse is a pattern of behaviour and/or an attitude towards an elder that endangers or impairs the elder’s psychological health.  This includes acts of insult, scolding, isolation, causing constant fear to the elder for a long period of time, intrusion into the elder’s privacy and unnecessary restriction of the elder’s freedom of access and movement.


• Neglect is a severe or persistent lack of attention to an elder’s basic needs (such as adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical treatment, and nursing care) that endangers or impairs the elder’s health or safety. Neglect also includes the lack of provision of medicine and auxiliary equipment according to medical advice, which causes physical harm to the elder.

• If a formal service provider (e.g. Residential Care Homes for the Elderly, Integrated Home Care Services Teams, hospitals etc.) fails to perform its caring responsibility and causes harm to the elder, the case can also be considered as neglect.

Financial abuse

• Financial abuse is any act which involves depriving an elder of his/her wealth, or not acting in an elder’s best interests, including getting hold of an elder’s possessions, money or assets (such as property or public housing tenancy) without his/her consent.


• Abandonment is the act of abandoning an elder without justifiable reasons, committed by a care giver or guardian, which endangers or impairs the elder physically or psychologically. For example, a family member gives a wrong residential address to the hospital upon admission of the elder, and so makes it impossible for the hospital to follow up by contacting the family member to discuss the medical and welfare issues of the elder.

Sexual abuse

• Sexual abuse is the act of sexual assault on an elder (including exposure of sexual organs to an elder, indecent assault and rape, etc.).