Elder abuse has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. Elderly people may be more prone to abuse due to social isolation and/or mental impairment. Abuse of the elderly can take place in the elder's home, nursing facility, or in public, and the perpetrators of elderly abuse can be professional caregivers, family members, healthcare professionals, financial advisors, or total strangers.
Sometimes those who care for elders are not suited to the requirements of the job and they allow themselves to vent their frustration, impatience and anger on the elderly person whom they are supposed to be caring for and protecting.
Many Types of Abuse
Abuse of an elderly person's finances is the most common form of elder abuse; however, there are many other kinds including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, abandonment, and healthcare fraud/abuse.
Physical abuse is the use of physical force resulting in bodily injury, physical pain or impairment. Acts of physical abuse may include striking with a hand or object, beating, pushing, shaking, slapping, kicking, and burning. Force-feeding an elder adult is also considered physical abuse as is the inappropriate use of physical restraints.
Signs of physical abuse:
Bruises, abrasions, burns, or broken bones
Open wounds or cuts
Broken eyeglass and other signs of being subjected to punishment
Sudden change in behavior
Sexual abuse is non-consensual contact with an elderly person that can include unwanted touching, sexual assault or battery such as rape, sodomy and sexually explicit photographing.
Signs of sexual abuse:
Bruises around breasts and genital area
Unexplained venereal disease or infection
Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
Torn or bloody undergarments
Emotional abuse is the infliction of pain or distress through verbal and nonverbal acts such as insults, threats, humiliation, intimidation and harassment.
Signs of emotional abuse:
Being upset or agitated
Being withdrawn and non-communicative
Neglect is the failure to fulfill any part of a person's obligations to take care of the elder.
Signs of neglect:
Malnutrition, dehydration, bedsores, or poor hygiene
Untreated health problems
Unsanitary living conditions
Abandonment is the desertion of the elder adult by an individual who is supposed to be taking care of him or her.
Signs of abandonment:
The elder is left at the hospital or nursing facility
The elder is left at a public place such as a shopping mall or church
inancial exploitation is the most common type of abuse found in older adults and is defined as the illegal or improper use of an elder's funds, property or assets. Checks may be cashed that belong to the elder adult, signatures may be forged, and possessions may be stolen.
Signs of financial exploitation:
Sudden changes in financial situation
Additional names found on the elder's accounts
Unauthorized withdrawals of money
Disappearance of possessions
Unexplained transfers of funds
Evidence of forged signatures
This abuse is less noticeable than other forms of elder abuse and includes:
Charging for healthcare not provided
Overcharging or double-billing for medical services
Over-medicating or under-medicating
Getting kickbacks for referrals to other providers or for prescribing certain drugs
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
Signs of Good Nursing Home Care
How to Evaluate a Nursing Home
What You Can Do
If you feel a loved one may be the victim of elder abuse, please contact the nursing facility supervisor, hospital administrator, or some other person of authority in the institution in which the elder lives. Elder abuse is a growing problem in the United States; however, there are organizations such as the National Center on Elder Abuse dedicated to protecting our nation's elders from this horrible abuse.
a Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer