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Legal Information: Colorado

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
June 17, 2021

What is the legal definition of mistreatment/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 is defined as:

    1. abuse, which is defined as:
    2. caretaker neglect;
    3. exploitation; or
    4. a harmful act.3

    For more detailed definitions of caretaker neglect and exploitation as they apply to an at-risk adult, please see section 26-3.1-101 on our Selected Colorado Statutes page.

    Some examples of mistreatment are 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

    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)