Types of Elder Abuse

As senior citizens advance in age, their physical and mental frailty tend to increase. Due to their weakness, they cannot stand up to bullying or other forms of attack directed at them. Most often, when the frailty reaches proportions requiring them to have a person take care of them, ill-intentioned individuals can use the opportunity to abuse them.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines elderly abuse as willful action or inaction that hurts or creates the potential for hurting an older adult, who is any person over the age of 60. Elder abuse can happen in many settings, including the elder’s home or an elderly care facility. It also takes many forms, so you may need to look for a wide range of signs when establishing if your loved one is a victim of abuse.

Physical Abuse

The most common type of elderly abuse is physical abuse. It involves using physical force such as kicking, pushing, pinching, and shoving, causing the victim to suffer physical pain, injury, or impairment. Physical abuse may also extend to involve other seemingly nonviolent actions such as inappropriate use of drugs or inhumane restraint of the victim.

If your elderly loved one complains of physical abuse, it would be best to investigate the claims. If they are cognitively impaired, you may need to look for bruises, dislocation, fractures, and scars. You may also want to look at signs that may indicate inappropriate drug use, such as sudden complications or changes in the older adult’s demeanor.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse may seem subtler in appearance than physical damage but by no means better. It involves treating the older adult in a manner intended to cause them emotional pain, such as yelling, ridicule, humiliation, threats, cursing, or ignoring them. This form of abuse may be challenging to detect.

One way of establishing emotional abuse is by paying attention to the interactions between the elder and the perpetrators. For example, the victim acts scared when talking or interacting with their abuser. Other signs of emotional abuse include rocking, acting withdrawn or depressed, and unusual isolation from friends and family.

Financial Abuse

Misappropriation or authorized use of funds owned by an older adult is also a form of elderly abuse. “There are legal ways of accessing older adults’ funds when they may not be able to handle them independently,” says Attorney John Yannone. But even then, taking advantage of the privilege is abuse.

Often abusers will have the elderly make them signatories to their estate while cognitively impaired, enabling the abuser to buy things unrelated to the older adult’s care with their credit card, and make large unauthorized transactions from an older person’s accounts. The best way to establish abuse is by checking the older person’s bank statements and other financial records for suspicious activity.

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