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DMEA: Defining and Measuring Elder Abuse

Broad conceptual definition:

The following is the updated/revised version of the broad  conceptual definition of mistreatment that was developed  by participants in the Defining and Measuring Elder Abuse  (DMEA) Definition Consensus workshop:

“Mistreatment of older adults refers to actions/behaviours  or lack of actions/behaviours that cause harm or risk of  harm within a trust relationship.”

Sub-category definitions:

Physical Abuse

“Actions or behaviours that result in bodily injury, pain,  impairment or physical distress.”

Emotional/Psychological Abuse

“Severe or persistent verbal/non-verbal behavior that  results in emotional or physical harm.”

Financial/Material Abuse

“An action or lack of action with respect to material  possessions, funds, assets, property, or legal documents,  that is unauthorized, or coerced, or a misuse of legal  authority.”


“Repeated deprivation of assistance needed by an older  person for activities of daily living.”

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