If an elder in your family has been abused, you do not need to suffer in silence.
Over two million cases of elder abuse were reported in 2017. This is a staggering figure that leaves 9.5% of the elderly population experiencing some type of abuse. Much of the abuse is perpetrated by caregivers and family members. These vulnerable adults are subject to
- Neglect and self-neglect
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
Neglect & Self-Neglect
Neglect is the most common form of elder abuse. In fact, some data suggests that over 58% of the instances of elder abuse are due to neglect. Neglect can be physical, emotional, or financial. Physical neglect occurs when a caregiver or other parties purposefully deprives the senior of necessary items or care, such as failure to provide preventative health measures or proper hygiene. Emotional neglect can be purposefully isolating the senior from the outside world causing loneliness and depression. Financial neglect is purposefully not using available financial resources to care for the senior, such as not paying for medical care or medications even though there are financial means to do so. Some results of neglect are:
- Poor hygiene
- Pressure ulcers/bed sores
Self-neglect is when a senior citizen refuses assistance which compromises his or her health or safety. For example, an elderly person who is unable to take a shower without falling who refuses to have help from another individual may develop health issues due to poor hygiene.
Emotional, or psychological, abuse is purposefully causing a senior citizen mental anguish. This can be in the form of threats, isolation, insults or even humiliation. Signs of emotional abuse are:
- Lack of Communication
Financial exploitation is using a senior’s finances for personal gain. Acts of theft, such as stealing someone’s social security, money, or possessions, as well as acts of coercion, such as changing the beneficiary on a person’s will or assuming power of attorney, are instances of financial exploitation.
Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual contact or exposure that the senior citizen has not consented to. This can be perpetrated by caregivers, family members, facility staff, other patients, and home health staff. Signs of sexual abuse are:
- Emergence of a new sexually transmitted disease
- Pelvic Injury
- Emergence of difficulty in walking or sitting
- Bruises on inner thigh or genital area
- Anal or genital pain, bleeding, or irritation
- Bloody, torn, or stained undergarments
Physical abuse is any act of violence that causes injury, disease, pain, or impairment. This can include pushing, hitting, or force feeding a senior citizen as well as restraining him or her improperly. It also includes giving the senior citizen improper medications. Instances of physical abuse can lead to unexplained bruising, bone fractures, medication overdoses, or adverse reactions to medications not prescribed to the senior or that are not given in accurate doses.
If you suspect that an elderly person is being abused, it should be reported to the elder abuse hotline in your state. Additionally, if you or a loved one have suffered from any of the above instances of abuse, please contact our attorneys for a consultation to discuss your legal options.