May 18th, 2020| The word abuse usually conjures thoughts of a person being physically assaulted, but there are several forms of abuse that don’t include physical contact, including neglect and emotional, financial, and verbal abuse. Though anyone can suffer these types of abuse, it is especially terrible when it happens to the most vulnerable among us. Elder abuse is an unfortunate and common part of life for older Americans. The National Institute on Aging says that hundreds of thousands of people over the age of 60 are abused, neglected, or financially exploited each year in the U.S. Though elder abuse is a serious threat, it’s also a preventable one. By raising awareness of the problem, we can make environments like nursing homes and assisted-living facilities safer for people in their golden years.
Examples of Non-Physical AbuseElderly people can be subjected to many forms of non-physical abuse, including…
- Emotional and psychological abuse: This occurs when someone says anything threatening or shaming toward an elderly person. Examples include yelling and screaming; use of profanity or insulting nicknames; mocking or criticizing their appearance, interests, and opinions; undermining or dismissing their concerns; excluding them from activities; and preventing them from seeing their visitors.
- Neglect and abandonment: Failing to provide elderly people the care they need and deserve is also a form of abuse. Neglect can include not giving elderly people the nutrition, grooming and hygiene assistance, or medicine they need, as well as leaving them alone for long stretches of time.
- Sexual abuse: Sexual abuse is common among elderly people. In a nursing home setting, it might be perpetrated by staff or even other residents.
- Financial abuse and exploitation: Taking advantage of elderly people through financial exploitation is another common form of elderly abuse. This could involve anything from theft to financial scams to healthcare fraud. Other examples include cashing a resident’s checks without permission, forging a resident’s signature, or coercing a resident to sign documents such as a contract, will, or to grant power of attorney.
How to Identify Elder AbuseIf your loved one is elderly, and you’re concerned about their well-being, you should look out for a few of the most common signs of elder abuse.
- Erratic mood swings
- Withdrawal from activities and loved ones
- Poor hygiene
- Unexplained weight loss
- Disheveled appearance
- Unexplained bed sores
- Sudden changes in your loved one’s will or other financial-related documents
- Personal belongings going missing
- Absence of services or amenities that have been paid for or should be included in nursing home fees