7 types of elder abuse

Elder abuse is a growing problem in our society, where we have more and more elderly people with fewer reporting laws in place. 

Current estimates say that as many as two million elders are being abused or neglected by those that they trust most. 

If you believe that your loved one is being abused, don’t wait to report it. You need to take immediate action to ensure the protection of your loved one. Call a Florida elder abuse attorney today to ensure that your loved one is safe. We can conduct an evaluation of their care facility, other family members, and their financial assets to offer a third-party view of the situation.

Learn how to identify the 7 types of elder abuse and call us today at (561) 655-1990.


1. Physical Abuse

Physical elder abuse is any physical contact that causes bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment. This includes both intentional and unintentional acts.

The most common form of elder abuse of this type is battering: primarily elder-on-elder assaults (including pushing, slapping, and pinching) that may result in injuries such as broken bones, contusions, and internal bleeding.

Caretakers are also well-known perpetrators of physical elder abuse. In overrun care homes with a limited supply of nursing staff, sometimes staff get frustrated and take that out on their patients.


2. Financial Abuse

Financial elder abuse is the most common type of elder abuse. It is any conduct that involves illegally or improperly using an elder’s funds, property, or assets. It can include both willful and negligent acts.

While many cases of elder financial abuse are committed by family members, it can also take place in a variety of other relationships. Family members often take advantage due to their access to an elderly individual’s accounts, but nursing home staff and other friends may also try to extort the individual for funds. 

This can be done by stealing cash and valuables, forging checks and power of attorney documents, and misusing the elder’s government benefits like Social Security, food stamps, and Medicare.


3. Sexual Abuse

Sexual elder abuse is any non-consensual sexual contact of any kind with an elderly individual. As a social problem, it has a variety of definitions, manifestations, and causes. Sexual activities to which the elder objects may be deemed abusive, regardless of the elder’s physical ability to resist. This includes any form of sexual touching, forcing the elderly individual to strip naked, and forcing the individual to perform acts to which they don’t or cannot consent. 

Sometimes these acts are perpetrated against unconscious individuals with no ability to respond.

Of all of the 7 types of elder abuse, sexual abuse is the most rarely discussed, especially by victims. Many elderly individuals are unable to speak up, but their non-verbal cues should never be ignored.


4. Psychological Abuse

This is the infliction of mental or emotional anguish by threat, harassment, or intimidation. Elder psychological abuse can also include withholding necessities such as food and shelter to maintain financial control, name-calling, or otherwise inflicting pain or distress through words.

Psychological abuse is particularly challenging for an elderly person to overcome because it often leads to chronic depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other psychiatric disorders. 

Physical indicators of elder psychological abuse include high levels of stress or anxiety, social withdrawal, changes in eating patterns, sleep disturbances, and self-neglect.


5. Neglect

Neglect is a significant problem among older populations as well. When a person needs more care, the family member or caregiver may choose to neglect the individual rather than put in the work. This includes withholding meals, medications, and transportation. 

Neglect can cause significant health issues or death.

Neglect is also common in facilities where the nursing staff may not show up for work or may not be able to attend to every client’s needs. In overcrowded nursing homes, this has become an increasingly obvious problem. 


6. Abandonment

Abandonment occurs when a caregiver completely cuts off contact with an elder and is often seen in financial abuse cases. It may also include deserting an elder at a hospital or other emergency care facility without making proper arrangements. Perpetrators can include family members and nursing home staff.

When elders are abandoned, they become even more vulnerable. Without any support system in place, they may not have the resources to survive long-term. 


7. Self-Neglect

Self-neglect is a unique form of elder abuse that many people do not recognize until it is too late. When people age, they prioritize their dignity over maintaining their health. This can lead to elderly individuals putting themselves in harm’s way.

For example, elders who are unable to see but avoid a doctor’s care or adaptive devices are putting themselves at risk of injury. 

In elder financial abuse situations, elder self-neglect may be the only way elder individuals feel as though they have some control.

Self-neglect can also include failing to eat, not paying bills, and not wearing proper clothing for the weather. 


Contact an Elder Abuse Lawyer

If you believe that your loved one is suffering from one of these 7 types of elder abuse, don’t hesitate to take action. The moment you step in can mean the difference between life and death. 

Contact an elder abuse lawyer as soon as possible to speak with a compassionate individual who can guide you through the claims process to get your loved one to safety.

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