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"Elder abuse is a term referring to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult." 

Laws vary from state to state, but broadly defined, abuse may be: 

Physical Abuse
Inflicting, or threatening to inflict, physical pain or injury on a vulnerable elder, or depriving them of a basic need.

Emotional Abuse
Inflicting mental pain, anguish, or distress on an elder person through verbal or nonverbal acts.

Sexual Abuse
Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind.

Illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a vulnerable elder.

Refusal or failure by those responsible to provide food, shelter, health care or protection for a vulnerable elder.

The desertion of a vulnerable elder by anyone who has assumed the responsibility for care or custody of that person. 

Verbal abuse can also be used to gain power and control over a victim in later life.

Delaware Code Definitions

Infirm Adult
Delaware Code, Title 31, Chapter 39, Section 3901
"Infirm adult" shall mean any person 18 years of age or over who, because of physical or mental disability, is substantially impaired in the ability to provide adequately for the person's own care and custody."

Delaware Code, Title 31, Chapter 39, Section 3901
"Any adult who has assumed the permanent or temporary care, custody or responsibility for the supervision of an infirm adult."

Physical or mental disability

Any physical or mental disability and shall include, but not be limited to, mental retardation, brain damage, physical degeneration, deterioration, senility, disease, habitual drunkenness or addiction to drugs, and mental or physical infirmity.

Substantially impaired
In the ability to provide adequately for the person's own care and custody" means the infirm person is unable to perform or obtain for himself or herself essential services.

Essential services
Those physical, medical, social, psychiatric or legal services necessary to safeguard the person, rights and resources of the infirm person and to maintain the person's physical and mental well-being. These services shall include, but not be limited to, adequate food and clothing, heated and sanitary shelter, medical care for physical and mental health needs, assistance in personal hygiene, protection from health and safety hazards, protection from physical or mental injury or exploitation.

Means the illegal or improper use or abuse of an infirm person, the infirm person's resources or the infirm person's rights, by another person, whether for profit or other advantage.

Incapacitated Person
Means a person for whom a guardian of person or property, or both, shall be appointed, under ' 3914(a) of Title 12.

Independent living arrangement
A mode of life pursued by a person capable of providing for the person's own care or who, while impaired, nevertheless is able to live outside an institution with assistance in obtaining
essential services.

Hazardous living condition
A mode of life which contains a substantial risk of physical injury, or mental distress, or exploitation.

Interested person
Means any adult relative or friend of an infirm person; an official or representative of the protective services agency or of any public or nonpublic private agency; or any corporation, board, organization or person designated by the Court to act in the interest of the infirm person.

Means that a person is living in conditions which present a substantial risk of serious harm and includes, but is not limited to, problems which cannot be managed by an impaired person, such as insufficient food supply, inadequate shelter, threatened or actual abuse or utility shut-off. Emergency does not mean psychiatric emergency as provided for in Chapter 50 of Title 16.

Emergency services
Protective services furnished to a person in an emergency.

Public Guardian
Means the Office of the Public Guardian.

Protective placement
Means the transfer of a person out of an independent living arrangement.

Means the Court of Chancery of the State.

Means the Department of Health and Social Services of the State.









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Last Updated: Thursday, 08-Jan-2015 15:04:44 EST
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