Elder Abuse

Updated December 2016   Fact Sheet PDF


  • physical: defined as any type of unwanted or offensive physical contact, including striking, hitting, punching, slapping, pushing, throwing items at, shaking, or pinching an elder, including the restraint of an elderly person, preventing him or her from leaving a place, and withholding needed medication or eyeglasses from the elder
  • emotional: verbal assault, insults, threats, intimidation, or harassment of an elderly person
  • sexual: any unwanted sexual touching, assault, or rape of an elderly person—since many elders have cognitive difficulties, any type of sexual conduct with an impaired person can be considered abuse since the victim does not have the legal ability to consent
  • financial: misusing an elder person’s funds, property, or assets—examples of financial exploitation include cashing an elderly person’s benefit check without authorization, intimidating an elder person into changing a will, improperly using a guardianship or power of attorney, or stealing funds from an elderly person
  • neglect: the failure to provide for the care of an elderly person when there is a duty to do so—this duty may be because the elderly person is a patient or a resident at a nursing home or assisted living facility, or it can be because the person neglecting the elder is required to provide for care or to take care of the elder’s affairs due to a guardianship or power of duty



The following organizations may be able to help.


Arkansas Adult Protective Services Hotline



Arkansas Long Term Care Ombudsman

(501) 682-8952


Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc.

(870) 972-9224


Warning Signs

Loved ones, managers of residential care facilities, medical professionals, and financial institution workers must be on the lookout for possible signs of elder abuse. In many cases, the abuser is someone that the victim is completely dependent on, so he or she may be afraid of reporting abuse. Often, more than one type of abuse may be occurring at the same time.


Some warning signs that abuse or neglect is occurring include:

  • physical signs of abuse, such as cuts, black eyes, bruises, or unexplained injuries
  • sudden behavior changes, such as becoming withdrawn when usually extroverted
  • fearfulness of a caregiver
  • a pattern of missed appointments
  • an added name on an account
  • missed payments, funds, or other assets
  • someone else beginning to speak for the elder
  • isolation of the elder from his or her friends and family

This fact sheet is a collaboration of the Center for Arkansas Legal Services and Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc. These nonprofit organizations provide free legal assistance to eligible Arkansans who meet income, asset, and other guidelines. Legal assistance may also include advice and counsel, brief services, or full representation depending on the situation. For more information about civil legal aid in Arkansas, please visit arlegalservices.org. For information specific to Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc., visit arlegalaid.org. Apply for services online or by calling 1-800-9-LAW-AID (1-800-952-9243).
The information and statements of law in this fact sheet should not be considered legal advice. This fact sheet is provided as a broad guide to help you understand how certain legal matters are handled in general. Courts may interpret the law differently. Before you take action, talk to an attorney and follow his or her advice. Always do what the court tells you to do.
Content provided by: Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc.


How helpful do you find the information on this page?

Add comment