Elder abuse is commonly thought of as an occurrence in nursing homes or with hired in-home staff but it can also be from family members entrusted with the care of the older person. Elder abuse can occur wherever the elderly person lives and can happen from anyone who lives with them or is responsible for their daily care. It can be from adult children, grandchildren, hired help, or in-facility staff.
Elderly abuse is not restricted to just physical abuse, there are several other ways an elderly person can be abused. Elder abuse is any form of mistreatment to an older person. Areas of abuse include:
- Physical abuse: Any type of physical force that results in an injury, including the use of physical restraints.
- Sexual abuse: Any type of unwanted sexual contact.
- Financial abuse: The improper (and illegal) use of an elderly person’s finances and estate. This includes forcing an older person to change their will or sign over property.
- Psychological abuse: The use of threats, humiliation, verbal and nonverbal communication to inflict mental or emotional anguish.
- Neglect: Failure of a caregiver to properly care for the older person they are responsible for. This includes slips and falls, providing medical care, dispensing medication, and providing proper hygiene care.
While taking care of an elderly person can be stressful, there is no excuse for abuse. As the elderly person’s health deteriorates, stress levels can rise and caretakers may lash out at those under their care. That is why it is important to recognize the warning signs of possible abuse when an elderly loved one is being cared for by a third party. Some signs that abuse may be occurring are:
- Bruises, scrapes, or scares
- There is more medication in the bottle than there should be (a sign it is not being taken)
- Broken eyeglasses
- Broken bones or sprains
- Unbathed condition
- Extreme weight loss
- Caregiver will not allow you to be alone with the elderly person
- Sudden changes to their will
- Change in financial standing
- Unusual charges to their account
If you have discovered that an older person you know, or are related to is, being mistreated by their caregiver, contact our office for help on how to properly report it and make sure that the abusive conduct stops so that your loved one receives the justice and care they are entitled to.