Abuse of elders can take many forms. There are a number of different types of abuse that happen to older people. Sadly, abuse occurs far too often. Relatives, friends, caregivers as well as professionals can all be responsible for the abuse of elders and the vulnerable. Most older people who experience abuse are unable to care for themselves or require assistance with their care.
Elder abuse is defined as a knowing, intentional, or negligent act to a vulnerable adult. Laws to protect and prosecute the elderly vary from state to state and from country to country.
Physical abuse is defined as;
Inflicting, or threatening to inflict, physical pain or injury to a vulnerable elder. Physical abuse can also include depriving them of basic needs such as food, medicines, or giving too much medication.
Physical abuse accounts for 25% of all abuse cases of elder abuse. This type of abuse includes punching, pushing, shaking, pinching, burning, force feeding, and any sort of physical punishment or restraint.
Signs of abuse include physical signs as well as sudden changes in behavior or refusal of a caregiver to allow visitors to see an elder alone.
Emotional or psychological Abuse
Emotional, psychological abuse is defined as;
Inflicting mental pain, anguish, or distress on an elder person through verbal or nonverbal acts.
Psychological abuse accounts for 36% of all cases of abuse.
Emotional abuse can be difficult to detect unless witnessed. People being abused in this way can show changes in behavior, fear when in the presence of the abuser, agitation or withdrawal.
Sexual abuse is non-consensual sexual contact of any kind.
Sexual abuse can be difficult to detect except for those involved in their nursing care. Signs include the physical signs. Always investigate allegations of sexual abuse by a vulnerable adult.
Financial or Exploitative abuse
Financial or exploitative abuse is defined as the illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a vulnerable elder.
Financial/material exploitation accounts for 30% of all cases of abuse
Exploitation includes the unexplained disappearance of funds, valuable possessions, changes to wills or financial documents.
Neglect as abuse
Neglect is defined as failing or refusing to provide food, shelter, healthcare or protection for a vulnerable elder.
Neglect accounts for 49% of cases of abuse.
The physical signs of neglect are often easy to see. Dirty surroundings, poor personal hygiene, soiled bedding, smell, untreated cuts or sores, poor dental hygiene.
To desert a vulnerable elder is abuse when that person has assumed the responsibility for care or custody of them.