As people become less physically fit, they are more likely to become frail and prone to abuse from other people. These abuses, whether we like it or not, tend to occur in places where older people live.
Elder abuse and neglect has become a common problem in the world today. These abuses include physical, sexual, emotional and even financial harm upon our family and loved ones.
The problem is that most elders who experience these abuses and neglect are incapable of defending themselves from their abusers. Furthermore, they are unwilling or unable to tell someone about it because of fear or humiliation.
This is the reason why it is important for us to understand that elder abuse happens. Therefore, we should learn to identify and understand its signs and symptoms, so that we will know when these abuses are happening to our elders.
Common Types of Elder Abuse and Neglect
1. Physical Abuse
Elder Abuses of the physical type includes any intentional force applied against an elderly person that results in harm, pain, injury, or impairment. This type of abuse does not only include physical assaults but also any unnecessary confinement, restraints, or use of drugs.
This type of elder abuse can be identified through any signs of injury, bruises, scars, sprains, broken personal items, rope marks, or any unexplained refusal that forbids us to see the elder person.
2. Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse to elders is any form of abuse that causes emotional and/or psychological harm and distress to our elders. This type of abuse includes any form of intimidation, threat, yelling, humiliation and ridicule, excessive blaming, isolation, and neglect.
Emotional abuses committed to our elders are somewhat harder to identify than physical abuses. However, in some cases, these abuses can cause our elders to adopt behaviors such as sucking, mumbling, rocking, and actions that mimic any dementia behaviors.
3. Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse committed to our elders is any form of unwanted contact towards our elders. These may involve any sexual acts of the physical nature, forcing elders to watch porn or any sex act, or forcing them to take their clothes off unnecessarily.
Signs and symptoms of this type of abuse include any bruises or swelling found around the elder’s breast or genitals, Torn, bloody, or stained underwear, and unexplained bleeding coming from the anal or sexual organs.
4. Healthcare Fraud, Abuse, and Neglect
Healthcare fraud and abuse to our elders are usually committed by hospital personnel, unethical doctors, nurses, and other care providers, while neglect can be coming from any person taking care of the elderly including our family and friends.
This type of elder abuse involves charging for healthcare that is not provided, overcharging for medical care and services, falsifying illness or disease in order to prescribe medicine or cure, and any other forms of medical fraud committed against our elders
In addition, neglect happens whenever the person in charge of taking care of our elders fails to fulfill their duties and obligations, such as leaving them unattended for long periods of time and failing to give them medicine or provide the proper care when they are sick.
5. Financial Abuse and Exploitation
Financial abuses and exploitations are any forced or unauthorized use of the elder’s funds and/or resources by any person that gains any profit or advantage from it.
This includes stealing cash, cheque, and household items, forging the elder’s signature on any document, identity theft, and investment fraud.
Signs of financial abuse and exploitation committed against our elders include unexplained withdrawals from their accounts, missing cash or items, unnecessary subscriptions, goods, or services under the elder’s name, and unexplained changes or addition to the elder’s will.
Providing proper care and attention is the best way to avoid any abuses and neglect towards our elders. It is recommended that we make sure that we get the right people that we can trust to take care of our elders whenever we can’t perform the duties ourselves.