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Elderly abuse, physical or mental, is against the law. National and state laws have been enacted in many states that detail how the elderly should be treated and the punishment involved if these laws are broken. As laws do vary from state to state, check local government websites to get the most accurate picture of your state's view. Abuse against elders (in any fashion, including in nursing homes) is wrong, and federal funding is provided for shelters and other assistance. The Older Americans Act (42 U.S.C. 3001 et seq., as amended) provides for this, but does not set down a direct law and specific punishment against those who abuse the elderly.