Legal Information: Colorado

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
November 8, 2018

What is the legal definition of abuse of the elderly or an at-risk adult?

An at-risk adult is someone who is susceptible to mistreatment or self-neglect because:

  • s/he is unable to take care of his/her own health, safety, or welfare; or
  • s/he lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning his/her body or affairs.1

An elderly person is defined as someone who is age 60 or older.2

    Mistreatment of an elderly person or an at-risk adult can include repeated acts of:

    • Verbal threats, assaults or harassment;
    • Giving you medicine improperly, or threatening to give you medicine improperly;
    • Physically or chemically (through medication or drugs) restraining you inappropriately; or
    • Using his or her authority (as a guardian or conservator) to unreasonably confine you or restrict your liberty (in other words, treating you like a prisoner); or
    • Threatening violence or using actual violence against the animal of an elderly person or at-risk adult, or taking, hiding or getting rid of his/her animal with the intention to coerce, control, punish, intimidate, or get revenge upon the elderly person or at-risk adult.2

    Additionally, abuse of an at-risk adult can also mean any of the following:

    • causing physical pain or injury, which can be proven by substantial or multiple bruises, bleeding, malnutrition, dehydration, burns, bone fractures, poisoning, subdural hematoma (bleeding on the brain), soft tissue swelling, or suffocation;
    • unreasonable confinement or restraint;
    • criminal sexual conduct or sexual contact;
    • caretaker neglect;
    • exploitation; or
    • any act or failure to act that threatens the health, safety, or welfare of an at-risk adult or that exposes him/her to a situation or condition that poses an immediate risk of bodily injury.3

    (For more detailed definitions of caretaker neglect and exploitation as they apply to an at-risk adult, please see our CO Statutes page).

    1 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 26-3.1-101(1.5)
    2 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-101(1)
    3 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 26-3.1-101(1),(7)