No one wants to think that the elderly people they care about may be treated inappropriately, but many elders adults are abused in their homes or in resident facilities. Elder abuse can take on many forms, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect or financial exploitation. Here is a brief description of each of these common forms:
Physical abuse is the threat of force or use of force, resulting in physical pain, injury or impairment. The force may be physical assault or improper use of drugs, restraints or confinement.
Emotional abuse is speaking to or treating the person in a way that causes emotional pain or distress, such as threat, intimidation, or ridicule. It may also include neglecting, ignoring, harassing or terrorizing the individual.
Sexual abuse is contact with the individual without their consent. Such contact may include touching or other physical acts, or forcing the elderly person to look at sexually explicit materials and activities or forcing him or her to undress.
Neglect is the caretaker’s failure to fulfill their duties. Such neglect may be either intentional or unintentional, such as misunderstanding the type or amount of care the individual requires.
Exploitation is the unauthorized use of the elderly person’s money or property. This commonly includes identity theft, stealing cash or misusing credit cards, as well as seeking collections for phony charities or investment fraud.
Tens of thousands of elderly persons throughout the United States are abused every year. If you suspect someone you know is being abused, report this to the appropriate authorities.