Elder Justice Issues – Abuse, Neglect, and Financial Exploitation


By: Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA)

Information and resources to help identify and deal with elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.
Resource Information

What are Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Financial Exploitation?

What is Elder Abuse?

Elder Abuse typically refers to physical, emotional, or sexual abuse of an elderly person. 

What is Elder Neglect?

Elder Neglect occurs when a caretaker, including a facility, fails to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing and/or supportive services, such as medical care. 

What is Elder Financial Exploitation?

Financial Exploitation involves a person taking advantage of an elderly person, causing financial harm to the elderly person. The exploitation can be by a relative, friend, or stranger who benefits from the exploitation. It oftentimes involves deception, such as scams.

What are Some of the Warning Signs of Elder Abuse, Neglect, and/or Exploitation?

(Consider these for yourself or a person you are concerned about.)

  • Being without necessary food or medical care.
  • Being prevented from seeing friends or family.
  • Feeling concerned about something you were convinced to purchase that you do not really need or want.
  • Feeling uneasy about how someone handles your money. 
  • Feeling uncomfortable about how someone uses your home or property.

Why Does Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation of Elders Remain Unreported?

  • People are told not to report and are afraid of the consequences of reporting.
  • People rely on the person who is abusing, neglecting, or exploiting them - for care and/or financial support.
  • People are afraid of getting family or friends in trouble.
  • People are embarrassed by their situation.

How Do I Report Abuse, Neglect, or Financial Exploitation?

If you are in an emergency situation, please dial 911.  

If the situation is not life-threatening, there are several ways to report abuse, neglect and/or exploitation:

What Help Can I Find at MLSA?

  • Legal advice and representation;
  • Referrals to volunteer attorneys and other resource providers; or
  • Information regarding self-help clinics and other resources.

Funding Statement

This article is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $334,757 with 75 percentage funding by ACL/HHS and $88,384 and 25 percentage funded by non-federal government source(s). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.

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