Every year, over 500,000 cases of elder abuse are reported in America, and many more cases go unreported leaving victims without help. One in ten elderly adults over 60 experience some form of elder abuse.
Common Forms of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse takes place in nursing homes, assisted living homes, long-term care facilities, and private residences. Perpetrators include personal caregivers, family members, friends, and neighbors. Elder abuse takes many forms, but each one can have devastating consequences on the victim leaving physical and emotional scars. It’s important to get the facts on elder abuse.
- Physical Abuse – Physical abuse is often inflicted intentionally. It includes hitting, slapping, pushing, pinching, and the use of inappropriate restraints. Warning signs include welts, red marks, bruises, cuts and abrasions, sprains, fractures, and broken bones.
- Emotional Abuse – Emotional abuse creates psychological stress caused by verbal threats, name-calling, intimidation, humiliation, yelling. Emotional abuse often leads to isolation from friends and social activities.
- Sexual Abuse – Sexual abuse often involves some type of forced physical contact by a caregiver. It may include forced sexual acts including rape and assault, inappropriate touching, and the use of pornographic materials.
- Neglect – Neglect occurs when the caregiver fails to respond to the elderly person’s needs. It can be intentional or an act of careless behavior. Over half of all reported cases of elder abuse involve neglect.
- Financial Exploitation – Financial exploitation involves fraudulent use of an elderly person’s money or property. It often includes forging checks, stealing money and credit cards, and changing the name on property titles, bank accounts, insurance policies, and wills.
- Healthcare Fraud – Healthcare fraud is often perpetrated by unethical caregivers and medical staff workers. Fraudulent charges are submitted for medicaid or non-existent healthcare services, patients are overcharged or double-billed, and doctors get kickbacks for prescribing medications.
Since elder abuse can occur under a variety of circumstances, it’s important to recognize the warning signs and get help for abuse victims. Reporting elder abuse to the proper authorities and an elder abuse attorney will ensure that victims are removed from a dangerous situation to prevent future abuse. Although some signs of abuse show up as bruises, abrasions, and broken bones, the signs of emotional abuse are much less obvious, but just as serious. Elders who are abused are 300 percent more likely to die, compared to elders who are well cared for physically and emotionally.