Elder abuse has received increasing attention over the past decade as a common problem with serious consequences for the health and wellbeing of old people. Our aim is to assist clinicians by summarising recent international research and clinical findings about elder abuse, and to assess their quality, relevance, and feasibility for health-care providers in clinical practice. This seminar includes issues of definition and frequency of elder abuse and a summary of major known risk factors. The advantages and disadvantages of screening for elder abuse are discussed. We review clinical manifestations and diagnosis of elder abuse, and propose a protocol for medical assessment of a patient with confirmed or suspected abuse. Suggestions for treatment are offered on the basis that elder abuse is multifactorial and needs individual medical and social intervention strategies, preferably in the context of a multidisciplinary team.