WomensLaw serves and supports all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.

About Abuse

Elder Abuse

Updated: April 3, 2024

What can I do to protect myself against older adult abuse?

Even though abuse can still happen to anyone, these are some things you can do to try to protect yourself:

  • make sure to seek and maintain social and community support to avoid isolation;
  • have your own phone;
  • take care of your health;
  • seek professional help for drug, alcohol, and depression concerns;
  • plan for your future with a power of attorney or a living will so that you can address health and lifestyle decisions now; (Note: If someone else prepares these documents and asks you to sign them, try to get advice from a lawyer before signing;
  • post and open your mail - don’t let someone else do it for you;
  • don’t give personal information over the phone; and
  • use direct deposit for all checks.1

To learn about your legal rights or to get help preparing legal documents, such as a will, you can find attorneys in your state on our Finding a Lawyer page. For non-legal resources, go to Where can I find additional resources and help for older adult abuse?

1Elder Abuse Facts,” National Council on Aging

Can I get a restraining order for elder abuse?

If you are an older adult who is being abused or you know someone who is, you or the other older adult may qualify for a restraining order. The following states and territories have legal orders that specifically protect older or vulnerable adults from abuse by someone who is supposed to be responsible for their care:

Alabama
California
Colorado
Florida (coming soon on WomensLaw.org)
Illinois
Iowa
Maine
Maryland
Oregon
Puerto Rico
South Dakota
Tennessee
Washington
Wisconsin
Virgin Islands (coming soon on WomensLaw.org)

In states without a specific order protecting older or vulnerable adults, you may still be able to get legal protection from another kind of order. For instance, an older adult who is being abused by a family member may qualify for a domestic violence restraining order or if the abuser is arrested, a criminal court protection order may be issued. Check what civil restraining orders may be available by selecting your state in our Know the Laws – By State section.

Where can I find additional resources and help for older adult abuse?

If you want to learn more about how elder abuse can affect older adults and how to get help, here are some additional websites that may be helpful:

You can also find organizations that help victims of elder abuse on our National Organizations – Elder Abuse page.

If you or a loved one are survivors of elder abuse and you would like legal information related to your specific situation, please send us a message on our Email Hotline.