Thousands of cases of elder abuse are reported in Wisconsin every year, and the problem continues to grow. Unfortunately, the shocking mistreatment of seniors is often perpetrated by loved ones, such as spouses, adult children, and other family members. 

At Gage-Michaels Law, we work with clients to help preserve important family relationships whenever possible. When those relationships become too harmful, however, we can help empower abuse victims to protect themselves with restraining orders, domestic abuse injunctions, and individual at-risk injunctions. When contact with an abuser ceases, healing can begin. 

If you or a loved one is concerned about elder abuse happening in your family, give us a call. Our team will meet with you to determine whether one of these important legal tools are right for you.


The CDC estimates that 1 out of every 10 people aged 60 and older who live at home have experienced elder abuse. That number may be much higher, since elder abuse often goes unreported. Adult children are most likely to be the abusers, followed by other relatives. While seniors can fall victim to strangers in situations like work-at-home scams, elders are much more likely to suffer at the hands of someone they know and love.

Signs that an older person is the victim of acts of violence may include:

  • Bruises, black eyes, welts, lacerations, rope marks, cuts, punctures, or untreated injuries in various stages of healing.

  • Broken bones, including the skull.

  • Sprains, dislocations, or internal injuries.

  • Broken eyeglasses or dentures.

  • Signs of being restrained.

  • Laboratory reports of overdose or underuse of medicines.

  • Reports from the older adult of being physically mistreated.

  • An older person's sudden change in behavior.

  • A caregiver's refusal to allow visitors to see an older person alone.

  • Symptoms of possible sexual abuse include bruises around the breasts or genital area, unexplained venereal disease or genital infections.

  • Emotional or psychological abuse is possible if the older person appears emotionally upset or agitated; acts withdrawn or is noncommunicative, nonresponsive, or paranoid; exhibits unusual behavior including sucking, biting, and rocking; or if he or she reports being verbally or emotionally mistreated.

  • Signs of neglect may include dehydration, malnutrition, untreated health problems, pressure injuries, poor personal hygiene, hazardous or unsanitary living conditions, and reports from the older person of being mistreated.

  • Abandonment includes the desertion of an older person at a hospital, nursing facility, shopping center, or other public location.

  • Signs of financial exploitation include sudden changes in a bank account or banking practice, such as unexplained withdrawals of large amounts of money; additional names on an older person's bank card; abrupt changes in a will or other financial document; disappearance of funds or valuable possessions; unpaid bills or substandard care despite the availability of funds; evidence of the older person's signature being forged; the sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives; payment for unnecessary services; and reports from the older person of financial exploitation.



Abuse and neglect are never okay. Get the protection you need to keep your loved ones comfortable and safe. 

Questions about Elder Abuse?

What are the most common types of elder abuse?

An “elder abuse victim” is a person age 60+ who has experienced or is currently experiencing physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, treatment without consent, or unreasonable confinement or restraint. Wis. Stat. §46.90.

What should I do if I suspect senior abuse?

There are a number of options available to those who wish to report suspected elder abuse. If an elder is in immediate, life threatening danger, you should call 911 or your local police department. When abuse or other mistreatment is suspected in a nursing home setting, patients and their families can file a report with the state’s Long Term Care ombudsman. Those who suspect an elder is being harmed can also seek assistance from Adult Protective Services, which can be particularly helpful if the senior is suffering from self-neglect or may pose a threat to themselves. Abusers are often very successful in isolating victims, making them doubt their own recollections of mistreatment. Elder abuse victims often feel a deep sense of shame, especially if they are being abused by a loved one. Speaking to an elder lawyer in a confidential setting may help give them the courage to come forward. If you are a senior who is struggling, or you care about an older person who is, one of your best first steps may be to set up a free consultation with Gage-Michaels Law. Our staff can help you determine whether you require legal help, and refer you to resources in the community that help people reclaim their lives from abusers. We’re here to remind you that you are not just a victim or a statistic. You are a survivor.

How can an Elder Law attorney help me in the case of senior abuse?

Victims can find that recovering from elder abuse is very difficult, because it can cause a lot of unanticipated legal problems. That’s why it is so important to consult with an elder law attorney who focuses on and understands the complexities of elder abuse. In addition to connecting you to resources, elder law attorneys can aid in the investigation of criminal activities and accompany you to interviews with law enforcement. Elder law attorneys can help you seek a domestic abuse or individual-at-risk injunction, or restraining order, against your abuser. If the abuser is your spouse, your attorney can help you seek a legal separation or divorce. Elder law attorneys can also assist with other means of removing an abuser from your home, such as launching eviction proceedings. An elder law attorney can help you file a claim against the abuser if they took your money or property. Elder law attorneys can also defend you in an eviction or foreclosure if the abuse caused you to fall behind on rent or your mortgage payment.

Who can sue for elder abuse?

If you are 60 and over and have experienced physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, treatment without consent, or unreasonable confinement or restraint, you should schedule a consultation.