Elder abuse takes many forms. Common scenarios include physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, as well as financial exploitation; and neglect.
Abuse can take place anywhere from the individual’s home to long-term care facilities. Unfortunately, abuse often comes from the elderly’s own children. However, this never excludes in-home caregivers and nurses.
Signs of physical abuse can include unexplained bruises, cuts, or other physical injuries. Giving an elderly person the wrong medication is also physical abuse. Furthermore, laws regarding sedation and restraint vary from state to state, and may be considered physical abuse.
According to the National Council on Aging, one in ten elderly individuals experiences elderly abuse or neglect.
Emotional abuse is also a very real threat. Yelling, intimidating, or keeping a senior citizen from people or activities they enjoy is abuse. Additionally, this could also be anything like verbal assaults to harassment.
Any unexplained bleeding or cuts in the genital area can be a sign of sexual abuse. Genital infections or bruising around elder’s breasts should be cause for a call to a physician. Also be aware, inappropriate, unwanted, or forced touching is abuse.
Financial exploitation of an elderly citizen can mean withholding money or misuse of funds by the caregiver. If you’re able, sit down with your elderly family members and make sure they have long-term financial plans arranged before they need them.
Lack of basic necessities is considered neglect. Food, clothing, and hygiene are the most common areas of neglect. However, if an elderly person’s home is in disrepair, this too could be considered neglect.
Another form of neglect is willful deprivation. This is when an individual denies an elderly person food, shelter, medication or care.
Unfortunately, elder abuse exists in many forms. The good news is that there are ways to prevent it.
Thankfully, there are some easy ways to prevent elder abuse:
For more help learning about preventing elder abuse, visit the Health in Aging foundation website. The foundation provides tools for caregivers and senior citizens alike to determine a course of care.