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  • John C. Whitbeck, Jr.


    John C. Whitbeck, Jr. practices in the following areas of law: Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Mediation, Arbitration, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Criminal Law, DUI/DWI, Reckless Driving, All Felonies, All Misdemeanors, Juvenile Crimes, Mental Health Law, Civil and Business Litigation, Construction Litigation, Education Law, Election Law, Debt Collection, Consumer and Lemon Law.

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  • Ruth M. McElroy


    Ruth M. McElroy practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Pre and Post Marital Agreements, Domestic Violence, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Juvenile Crimes, Felony and Misdemeanor Crimes, Traffic Offenses, Debt Collection, Civil and Business Litigation. She serves the Virginia Court system as a Guardian ad litem.

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  • Jennifer D. Cisneros


    Jennifer D. Cisneros practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Juvenile Crimes, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Estate Planning, Wills and Probate, Trusts, Civil and Business Litigation and Debt Collection.

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Common Types of Elder Abuse


As adults age and become frailer, many are unable to take care of themselves. This can also mean they lack the ability to fight back or speak up if there are other health complications hindering their cognitive or speech skills. Abuse against the elderly is a clear problem in the United States, and while abuse can occur anywhere, it tends to happen more often in the elder’s place of residence, including in a facility or institution.

Here are some of the more common types of elder abuse to watch out for.

Physical and Sexual Abuse

Physical abuse is one of the more common types of abuse, and it involves the use of force against elderly people, resulting in some type of physical pain. This can involve pushing, shaking, kicking, beating, burning, pinching, etc. Physical abuse is not limited to just physical violence either, it can encompass other incidents involving confinement, the use of restraints, or inappropriate administering of drugs. You should question suspect bruising, burns, fractures, or abrasions.

Sexual abuse is something that is also a risk for older people. Pay attention for infections involving the genitalia and anus, bilateral bruising of the inner thighs, and difficulty sitting and/or walking.

 Verbal or Emotional Abuse

Verbal or emotional abuse is the use of words to hurt the elderly person. This can be done through threats and intimidation, yelling, ridicule, or humiliation. People who constantly blame the elderly person or use them as a scapegoat could be emotionally abusive as well.

Non-Verbal or Psychological Abuse

Psychological abuse is non-verbal, which means it’s not necessarily as easy to pinpoint. This type of abuse can involve ignoring the elderly person, or trying to isolate them from their friends or activities they love. Some people go as far as terrorizing the elderly person.


Neglect involves a person who is charged with taking care of the elder failing to fulfill his or her obligations in caring for them. This could manifest itself in a variety of scenarios as well, including failing to give required medicines or food, not keeping the elder clean, or not watching out for their personal safety.

Financial Abuse

Older people typically have saved money throughout their life for retirement, and this is part of the reason why they become such a target. Financial abuse can happen in a variety of ways. Someone may cash the elder’s pension or social security checks without their permission, take property or other money, or even convince them to sign over property or other assets. Diverting guardianship and conservatorship assets can happen too. Careful screening of the caregiver and attention to detail can help reduce the risk of financial abuse. 

Speak to a Family Law Attorney

If you suspect someone you love is the victim of elder abuse, speak up and speak out. Report the abuse and speak with a qualified Virginia family law attorney to see about guardianship and conservatorship options. The team at Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC have years of experience in all areas of family law matters. Contact us online or call our office at 703-997-4982 to schedule a consultation.

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Governor Northam’s Executive Order 53 provides that businesses that offer professional rather than retail services may remain open. Our firm is continuing to operate to ensure you and your family have advocates available for whatever legal issue you face. For clients who prefer, we can arrange meeting by Zoom or other video-conferencing. We are also implementing internal procedures to provide a safe environment in the office. Please contact us at 703-777-1795 or schedule an appointment today!