Elder Abuse Defined
There are several types of elder abuse. The list includes:
• Physical abuse of the elderly
• Emotional abuse of the elderly (psychological or verbal)
• Neglect or abandonment of elders by caregivers
• Self-neglect by elders
• Sexual abuse of the elderly
• Financial exploitation of seniors (elder financial abuse)
• Healthcare fraud or healthcare abuse of the elderly
Some forms of physical abuse are obvious to most people. But other types of abuse you should be aware of are:
• Pushing, shoving, pinching or choking
• Force-feeding, hair pulling, or any type of rough handling
• Misuse of medication (example, give “a little extra” to make them go to sleep)
There is a controversy surrounding the use of physical restraints. There are some elderly people who think they can get up and walk when they really can’t. Should restraints be used to keep them in their wheelchair or other seat or is this abuse?
Sometimes emotional abuse is the worse kind of abuse you can do to a person. Again, some forms of emotional abuse are obvious, others aren’t.
• Treating the elder like an infant or child
• Threatening to punish them through deprivation, or physical abuse
• Humiliating, insulting, etc.
There is also neglect which is a form of abuse. This can be physical and/or emotional. Usually elder neglect is a little more harsh then child neglect cases. It amazes me what people do to their parents, grandparents, and those they are paid money to take care of. Some types of neglect include:
• Inappropriate housing or shelter
• Not providing the necessities to live decently (includes food, clothing, medications, etc.)
• Lack of assistance to feed, bathe, or use the restroom properly
• Ignoring the elder when they call for help
• Isolation from the world
On occasion, there are reports in the media of elder sexual abuse where a caregiver rapes, molests, or forces an elderly person into sexual situations that they do not want. Financial or material exploitation of an elder is when someone illegally or improperly uses an elder's assets, funds, or property. People are constantly scamming the elderly out of money they have diligently saved for their older years. Some senior citizens are too trusting or lack the resources to educate themselves against these selfish people. There are other instances where the child or some other relative of the elderly persons steals money right from under their noses.
In upcoming articles, we will look at the warning signs, symptoms, and discuss some of the causes of elder abuse.
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