One in ten Americans over the age of 60 have experienced some form of Elder Abuse. It’s believed more than 5 million elderly Americans are abused each year.
Abuse is a horrible and frightening thing to endure especially when you have no place else to go and the abuser is in charge of your care.
Some families have no idea what types of elderly abuse occur in private care, nursing homes and long term care facilities across the country. They are shocked when it happens to their own loved one.
Keep reading to learn more about types of elderly abuse and how to recognize the signs it may be happening to your loved one.
1. Physical Abuse
When someone says the word abuse this is usually the first type that people think of. It is harming a person through physical intimidation or violence. This isn’t always as blatant as punching or hitting someone.
It might include any of the following actions:
- hitting, slapping, punching
- kicking, tripping, pushing/pulling
- scratching, pinching
- unnecessary physical restraint
- medicating inappropriately to restrain
Any action that causes or has the expectation of causing physical harm or distress should be considered physical abuse. Your loved one may not be able to talk about the abuse because of fear or inability to communicate because of Alzheimer’s, dementia or another mental or physical illness.
If your loved one has unexplained injuries, bruises or tender areas or they seem to be exhibiting signs of stress, fear, anxiety or distress particularly around certain staff members, you may want to investigate further.
2. Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse can be harder to recognize because it’s not as cut and dry as someone laying their hands on or physically harming another person. Emotional abuse is when someone verbally or non-verbally inflicts distress or pain on someone.
This may include:
- threats and intimidation
- insults, verbal assaults
While there are no physical bruises or sign of mental abuse there are warning signals to look for:
- unusual behavior/unexplained confusion similar to dementia
- emotional regression
- agitation and/or anxiety
- unexplained lack of communication,
- withdrawn or unresponsive to inquiries
If you notice significant changes in your loved one’s behavior with no medical reason there may be cause for concern that they are being emotionally abused.
Failing to provide the necessities of life is a form of abuse and unfortunately is a more common issue than you’d think. This may include things such as:
- soiled or dirty clothes
- the lack of social interaction or proper communication
- failure to provide proper medication, hydration, or nutrition
- unhygienic or unsanitary environment
An individual being neglected may have weight loss, bed sores, dirty clothes, unwashed hair, foul odor, be irritable or listless.
4. Sexual Abuse
Any form of non-consensual sexual contact or interaction is abuse. A vulnerable person who is unable physically or mentally to understand or consciously give consent is being abused if coerced into sexual behavior.
There may be signs that sexual abuse is happening:
- changes in behavior, appetite and sleeping habits
- anxiety or aggression in particular around an abuser
- bruises in personal areas such as breast, genitalia
- repeated infections, unexplained STDs
- underwear or toilet paper spotted with blood
Any suspicion of sexual abuse should be taken very seriously. A doctor can help determine if there’s any physical evidence of abuse.
5. Financial Abuse
Many seniors are taken advantage of and financially abused. This is when the elderly individual’s assets are used improperly.
It may involve:
- someone adding their name to a bank card to gain access to their cash for their own use,
- overcharging or convincing the person they owe money,
- intimidating them into giving over money or property and
- other inappropriate financial transactions.
If you are concerned a loved one is being financially abused or abused in one or more of the other ways USAttorneys.com can help you take action to protect them.
Be Proactive About All Types of Elderly Abuse
The last thing you want to happen is for your loved one to be hurt in any way. You can be proactive by researching the facility, nursing home or caregivers. Visit at different times of the day and watch your loved one for any signs of different types of elderly abuse.
We can’t always be the one to provide care but we can do our best to ensure those who are providing care are doing it in a safe and caring manner.
Looking for a home care service? Check out our guide.