Every year there are seniors who experience elder abuse or neglect. Sadly many cases go unreported even some of the most serious cases that result in death.
There are many forms of elder abuse and there may not always be physical signs. These elderly victims can be frail and vulnerable and are therefore unable to protect themselves or seek the help they need. Additionally, once suspicions of elder abuse arise they can be difficult to prove.
Victims of nursing home abuse may experience physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse. Physical abuse has occurred when physical force has been used resulting in harm to the victim. Types of physical abuse include hitting, scratching, biting, shoving, and inappropriately using restraints. When elder abuse is physical it generally has the most obvious warning signs. This makes it easier to prove than other types of elder abuse.
When a caregiver has caused emotional distress in the victim, then elder abuse has occurred. The abuser may ridicule, humiliate, intimidate, terrorize, ignore, demean, blame, or using the victim as a scapegoat are considered emotional abuse.
The elderly may also be victims of sexual abuse. This occurs when non-consensual sexual contact is made with an elder. Physical and emotional abuse may also have a role in sexual abuse. These elderly victims may have been tricked, coerced, manipulated, or forced into sexual contact.
Financial elder abuse is also a problem. Victims may have their money or property stolen. Abusers may also trick or pressure an elderly person to divulge information such as bank account and credit card numbers. Victims may also be coerced to modify deeds, wills, or trusts.
Elder neglect, or nursing home negligence, occurs when a resident has not received the proper medical, physical, or emotional attention. This can increase the risk of harm to victims. The neglect may even rise to the level of physical or emotional abuse.
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