Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation in New Jersey



Introduction to the Law on Elder Abuse

Written by New Jersey Elder Abuse Attorney Fred Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann, serving Monmouth County and all counties in New Jersey to prevent elder abuse against vulnerable persons.

Elder Abuse in NJ

Getting old is hard.  Few of my elderly clients say life gets easier as they age.  But age keeps moving on and with an aging population, claims of elder abuse are on the rise.

In 1965, Congress began to investigate the extent of elder abuse and financial  exploitation under the Federal Older Americans Act.

Later in 1978, Congress required each State to create a nursing home Ombudsman program to investigate and prevent elder abuse neglect and exploitation.  Today, many believe that Elder Abuse is under-reported.

Often elders are frail and dependent on their abusers for basic care and are reluctant to complain, because they don’t know how they will survive outside of their dependent condition.

The elder may be isolated, or may feel fear and shame.  Regardless, it is clear that the problem is widespread.

Categories of Elder Abuse

There are three basic categories of elder abuse:

  •  Domestic elder abuse
  • Institutional elder abuse
  • Self –neglect or self-abuse

Domestic elder abuse generally refers to the abuse of an elderly person by someone who has a special relationship with the person ( a spouse, a sibling, a child, a friend, a caregiver or fiduciary relation, i.e. Power of Attorney or Guardian), that occurs in the elder’s home, or in the home of a caregiver.

Institutional abuse generally refers to abuse that occurs in residential facilities for older persons (e.g., nursing homes, assisted living residences, residential healthcare facilities, or rooming board and care facilities).

Self –neglect is characterized as the behavior of an elderly person that threatens his/her own health or safety.  Self-neglect is generally found as a refusal or failure to carry out one or more activities of daily living (commonly referred to as ADL’s), bathing or showering, dressing, getting in or out of bed or a chair, using the toilet, eating, taking medication (when indicated), and observing safety precautions.

Physical abuse is the use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment.  Physical abuse may include but is not limited to such acts of violence as striking (with or without an object), hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, shackling, slapping, kicking, pinching, spitting at, and burning.  In addition, inappropriate use of chemical (drug) and physical restraints, force- feeding, and physical punishment of any kind also are examples of physical abuse.  Physical abuse includes forcing treatment upon an elder who has the capacity to make voluntary healthcare decisions, after the elder has made a voluntary and informed choice regarding such treatment, and providing treatment that is not medically indicated.

Verbal, emotional or psychological abuse is the infliction of anguish, pain, or distress through verbal or nonverbal acts.  It includes, but is not limited to, verbal assaults, insults, threats, intimidation, humiliation, and harassment.  In addition, treating an elder like an infant; isolating an elder from his/her family, friends, or regular activities; giving the elder the “silent treatment;” and enforced social isolation are examples of emotional/psychological abuse.

Gross Neglect is a form of abuse, and is the term that describes the willful deprivation of services which are necessary to maintain a person’s known obligations or duties.  Gross neglect may also include the failure of a person who has a fiduciary responsibility to provide care for an elder (e.g., pay for necessary care).  Gross neglect typically means a refusal or failure to provide an elderly person with life necessities such as food, water, clothing, shelter, personal hygiene, medicine, comfort, personal safety, and other essentials.

Abandonment is the desertion of an elder by an individual who has assumed responsibility for providing care for an elder, or by a person with physical custody of an elder.

Have questions or a case involving suspected or actual elder abuse & financial exploitation in New Jersey?

Rutgers State University is pleased to invite Mr. Fred Niemann of Hanlon Niemann to be the guest speaker at their workshops for the Office of Continuing Education.

Mr. Niemann will offer continuing Education courses on “Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation”, “Hidden Secrets of Veterans Benefits”, “Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefits 2013″, “Medicaid Changes: The Approaching Storm”, and the “New NJ Comprehensive Waiver Demonstration”.

Click here to check our website for current dates for these events

Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. was recently asked to speak at the NJ State Bar Association Institute of Continuing Legal Education in New Brunswick, NJ on the essentials of estate planning.Mr. Niemann addressed attorneys from throughout the state of NJ interested in learning key concepts and principals of NJ estate planning, including such topics as wills, trusts, estate taxations, asset protection, powers of attorney, health care directives, special needs and supplemental needs trusts for disabled and incapacitated individuals, avoiding probate through creative use of beneficiary planning, inheritance taxes, gifting and changes coming to federal estate taxation.


Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. attended the 46th annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning conference from January 9th to January 13th at the Orlando World Center sponsored by the Community of Miami School of Law.  This week long session assembled the nation’s leading authorities to lecture and discuss the latest in estate planning techniques and strategies.  Topics analyzed and discussed included 1) elder law; 2) asset protection; 3) statutory case law developments; 4) planning with financial assets including annuities, Roth IRA’s, and life insurance policies; 5) litigation and tax controversies; 6) networking and practice development.