We Have To Know The Types Of Elder Abuse To Be Able To Protect Our Older Adults
October 29, 2018 13:46 By Fabiosa
The statistics of elder abuse is really disturbing. It is estimated that around 1 in 6 older adults (age 60+) are being affected by elder abuse. Although it can have to anyone, it most often affects those people who are dependent on help from others, especially in everyday activities, such as bathing, taking medicine, dressing, etc. Most of the abusers are family members (typically older children) and nursing staff. It may be hard to digest, but you need to know the types of elder abuse to be able to prevent it.
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What are the different types of elder abuse?
According to The National Center on Elder Abuse, there are 7 types of elder abuse. Each of them is very dangerous and can have horrendous consequences.
1. Physical abuse
Any action that inflicts physical harm on a vulnerable adult and can lead to bodily injuries, pain, or impairment is considered physical abuse. There many ways to physically abuse older adults, but the most common ones are pushing, kicking, and hitting with various objects. Typically, physical abuse occurs in a situation where the abuser wants the older adult to do something forcibly. Therefore, force-feeding and restraining movement are also considered physical abuse and unfortunately, happen very often.
2. Sexual abuse
Any type of non-consensual sexual contact with an older adult is considered sexual abuse. Most often it occurs in forms of unwanted touching, taking nude pictures, and intercourse. More than 70% of reported sexual abuse occurs in nursing homes. And it comes as no surprise that only around 30% of the victims of sexual abuse report it.
3. Emotional, also mental or psychological abuse
Generally speaking, emotional abuse is inflicting distress by either verbal or nonverbal means. An older adult may experience insults, threats, intimidation, verbal harassment, etc. Often times, emotional abuse involves social isolation and so-called “silent therapy.” Emotional abuse is one of the hardest types of elder abuse to recognize due to the lack of obvious physical manifestations.
Another type of elder abuse is neglect, which means failing or refusing to provide an older adult with essential care. Basically, if the caregiver does not provide the older adult with such necessities of life like shelter, water, food, medicine, or clothing, it is considered neglect of the elderly. Not paying for health care services is also elder abuse.
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Obviously, something as horrible as deserting an older adult simply has to be considered elder abuse. Unfortunately, not everyone can take care of their older relatives due to different reasons: they might not have enough money or have some health issues.
6. Financial exploitation
Financial abuse is stealing older adult’s assets or property, as well as forcing them to give their money to the abuser. This includes all sorts of financial manipulations like forging older adult’s signature to sign documents and checks, stealing their cash or other possessions, forcing them to their will, etc
You’ve read about different types of elder abuse where the victim and the abuser are different individuals. Self-neglect is, in turn, when the older adult fails or refuses to take care of themselves appropriately. Self-neglect characterizes by behaviors that can threaten their health or safety. Living on the street or in life-threatening conditions and refusing to use medical aids are just small examples of self-neglect.
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Nursing home abuse
It is extremely hard to prevent elder abuse. Most of the abusers are family relatives and nurses, which proves that taking care of older adults is tough. Therefore, the most important rule here is to seek help when you feel overburdened. The second rule is to choose the right nursing home if you are unable to provide proper care. But don’t assume that every nursing home is safe. There are at the very least 7 dangerous types of elder abuse in nursing homes:
- untreated bedsores;
- positional asphyxia (not enough oxygen due to the improper position of the body);
- unnecessary restraints;
- chemical restraints;
- sexual assault.
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Online reviews, as well as your own inspection of each nursing home, are the best ways to minimize the risk of your older adult being abused there. Also, if you suspect any case of elder abuse, it is important to report it. Don’t hesitate, you can save someone’s life with a simple call. You can call 9-1-1 if you believe the situation requires immediate actions to be taken. You can also call the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116, where the operators will help you contact your local agency.