Family Violence – Elder Abuse and Neglect

Agnes is 88. Although she has three adult children and eight adult grandchildren, they all live in different states; therefore, she lives alone. Agnes’s daughter Laura tried at one time to put Agnes in an assisted living center, but Agnes insisted she was quite capable of taking care of herself. Further, she stated, she had been living in her home for over 50 years, and she fully intended to live in it until the end.
Agnes loves cats, and the neighborhood strays find a home with her. As a result, there are so many cats running around the neighborhood that a neighbor calls the police to complain.
You answer the call and on entering Agnes’s home find it a chaotic mess. Litter boxes have not been cleaned in months, and the cats have stopped using them. There are feces scattered throughout the house. Agnes has only a small pension and uses much of it to feed her cats. She confesses that she often shares their meal, unable to afford nutritious meals for herself.

Would you classify this as elder abuse? Why or why not? What classification would you use? Do you think the children should be held criminally liable for neglect? What would your recommendations be in this situation? Give reasons to support your answer.