Elder abuse has been defined by the American Medical Association (AMA) Department of Legislation as an act or omission, which results in harm or threatened harm to the health or welfare of an elderly person. Abuse includes intentional infliction of physical or mental injury; sexual abuse; or withholding of necessary food, clothing, and medical care to meet the physical and mental health needs of an elderly person by one having the care, custody, or responsibility of an elderly person. There are three separate categories of elder abuse: (1) domestic elder abuse usually takes places in the older adult’s home or in the home of the caregiver; (2) institutional abuse refers to abuse that takes place in a residential home, such as a nursing home, foster home, or assisted-living facility where the abuser has a financial or contractual obligation to care for the older adult; and (3) self-neglect which is the behavior of an older adult that threatens his or her own health or safety. Self-neglect is present when an older adult refuses or fails to provide for himself or herself with adequate food, water, clothing, shelter, personal hygiene, medication, and safety precautions.
Elderly (Texas Penal Code § 22.04): a person over the age of 65.
Abuse (Texas Human Resources Code §48.001): the negligent or willful infliction of injury, unreasonable punishment with resulting physical or emotional or pain to an elderly or disabled person by the person’s caretaker, family member, or other individual who has an ongoing relationship with the person; or sexual abuse of an elderly or disabled person, including any involuntary or nonconsensual sex that would constitute an offense under §21.08, Penal Code (indecent exposure) or Chapter 22, Penal Code (assaultive offenses), committed by the person’s caretaker, family member, or other individual who has an ongoing relationship with the person.
Exploitation (Texas Human Resources Code §48.002(a)(3)): the illegal or improper act or process of a caretaker, family member, or other individual who has an ongoing relationship with an elderly or disabled person that involves using, or attempting to use, the resources of the elderly or disabled person, including the person’s social security number or other identifying information, for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain without the informed consent of the elderly or disabled person.
Neglect (Texas Human Resources Code §48.002(a)(4)): the failure to provide for one’s self the goods or services, including medical services, which are necessary to avoid physical or emotional harm or pain or the failure of a caretaker to provide such goods or services.