People have the right to be free from discrimination, crime, physical and emotional abuse, neglect, intimidation, and financial exploitation. Older people may experience violations of their personal and legal rights in many settings—in the community and in institutions—and in many roles.
Older people, like everyone, need effective mechanisms to assert their rights. These mechanisms include the enforcement of rights by federal, state, and local agencies that oversee programs for older adults or that have the authority to enforce laws and regulations on their behalf. Of equal or greater importance is the ability of individuals to bring lawsuits and to seek redress when their rights have been violated. In some instances older adults who are unable to protect their rights will suffer more severe consequences than other people whose rights are violated. Thus additional efforts are necessary to protect vulnerable older adults.