Abuse of the elderly is a problem that is growing. We don’t know why it happens or how to stop the spread of this kind of behavior. But we do know there is assistance available for the victim of elder abuse. We have attempted here to create an exhaustive list of elderly abuse in its many forms.
For list of the more common types go here. One of the things that can be done is for the concerned person, to know the warning signs. That way, if a possible problem exists, people can call for help.
Physical Abuse Defined
The definition of physical abuse is the use of force, which can result in bodily injury, impairment or physical pain. This type of abuse can include acts of violence, such as hitting, slapping, pinching, striking. And this could be with or without using an object.
For example, pushing, shoving, shaking, beating, kicking and burning could be the method. But this is not limited to these uses of force. There can also be the inappropriate use of physical restraints; force feeding, use of drugs, and any type of physical punishment. All are also physical abuse.
What Are Some Physical Abuse Signs and Symptoms of Elder Abuse?
These are the most exhaustive results of physical abuse, but are not limited to these signs or symptoms.
- A report by an elderly person of being mistreated, hit, slapped, or kicked.
- Caregiver’s refusal to allow the elderly person to be seen by visitors alone.
- Sudden changes in the elderly person’s behavior.
- Physical signs of being subjected to punishment.
- Signs of being restrained, such as wrist and ankle bruising, lacerations, or red marks. There may be signs of lack of proper circulation to the heels.
- Broken eyeglass frames.
- Unexplained or frequent bruising, lacerations and welts.
- Sprains and dislocations.
- Fractured bones, broken bones and skull fractures.
- Open wounds, cuts and punctures.
- Signs of untreated wounds in various stages of healing.
- Rope burns.
- Internal injuries and bleeding.
- Under use of prescribed drugs.
- Laboratory findings of medication overdoses.
Sexual Abuse of Dependents
Sexual abuse is a form of physical abuse, which is the act of non-consensual contact of any type with an elderly adult. This can be sexual contact with anyone, who is not capable of giving consent.
Sexual abuse is not limited to unwanted touching. So this includes all types of sexual assault, battery, including rape, sodomy, sexually explicit photographing, and coerced nudity.
Sexual Abuse Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- The report by an elderly person of being sexually assaulted or raped.
- Bruising around the breasts or genital area.
- Stained, torn or bloody underclothing.
- Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding.
- Genital infections
- Venereal disease
Emotional or Psychological Abuse
The definition of emotional or psychological abuse is the infliction of pain, distress or anguish by verbal or non-verbal acts. This type of abuse includes verbal assaults, insults, intimidation, humiliation, harassment and threats. But it is not limited to these.
Isolating an elderly person from his or her family or activities, or giving them the “silent treatment.” These are all forms of forced social isolation. Hence, they are forms of emotional or psychological abuse. Threatening an elderly person can be equated to threatening an infant. After all, they are dependent on the healthcare provider or nursing home staff.
Emotional or Psychological Abuse Signs and Symptoms
These are common signs and symptoms of emotional or psychological abuse, but are not limited to these.
- Reports by the elderly person of being verbally or emotionally mistreated.
- Behavior of being extremely withdrawn.
- Unusual behavior, which could be attributed as signs of dementia, but are not in reality, including rocking, sucking and biting.
More Signs Of Elderly Neglect
Neglect can take several forms, generally the refusal of providing the elderly adult with necessities, such as shelter, food, water, personal hygiene, personal safety, medicine, comfort and other essentials, which are agreed upon or implied in the responsibility to an elderly person.
Neglect can be the failure or refusal in any way of a person or staff members obligated duties to the elderly person. It can also be a failure on the part of a person, who has fiduciary responsibilities. So it’s a failure to provide care for the elderly person, which means not paying for necessary home care services or long term care facility costs. This can also be a failure of an in-home service provider, to provide the necessary car required.
What are Some Signs and Symptoms of Neglect?
There are common signs and symptoms of neglect, but it is not limited to these:
- Reports of neglect by the elderly adult.
- Lack of personal hygiene.
- Untreated or unattended health issues.
- Untreated bed sores and other wounds.
- Unsafe or hazardous living conditions or arrangements. Unsafe living conditions can include no running water, no heat and improper wiring.
- Unsanitary or Unclean living conditions. This can include dirty living conditions; urine/ fecal odor, inadequate clothing or soiled clothing, soiled bedding, fleas and lice.
What is Abandonment?
The definition of elderly abandonment abuse, is the desertion of an older adult, by the individual who has assumed the responsibility of caring for them, or by an individual, who has physical custody of the elderly person.
Abandonment – Signs and Symptoms?
The signs and symptoms of abandonment can include the following, but are not limited to them:
- A report by the elderly person that they have been abandoned.
- Desertion of an elderly person at any of the following:
- Shopping centers
- Public locations
- Nursing facilities
- Long term healthcare facilities
- The desertion of the elderly adult at any other locations.
What is Financial or Material Exploitation?
The definition of financial or material exploitation is the improper or illegal use of an elderly persons funds, assets or property, by an individual. This can be the cashing of the elderly persons checks, without permission or authorization. It could include forging their signature, stealing or misusing their possessions or money.
Deceiving or coercing an older adult to sign documents, contacts or wills is part of it. But is can also include the improper use of guardianship, power of attorney or conservator-ship.
Signs and Symptoms of Financial or Material Exploitation?
These are common signs and symptoms of financial or material exploitation of an elderly person. But these are not limited to these:
- Reports of financial exploitation by an elderly person.
- Providing services that are not necessary and financially costly.
- Unpaid bills, even when there is adequate availability of financial resources.
- The appearance of relatives, who have not been involved with the older adult or their care, suddenly claiming their rights to the elderly person’s affairs and possessions.
- Additional names being included on an older adult’s bank signature card.
- Sudden changes in banking practices or bank accounts. This can mean the withdrawal of large sums of money by an individual and may be accompanied by the elderly adult.
- Sudden transfers of assets to a family member or someone that is not related to the elderly adult.
- Sudden changes in financial documents or wills.
- Forgery of the elderly person’s signature for financial transactions or for titles of his or her possessions.
- Withdrawals using the elderly person’s ATM cards to remove their funds.
- Disappearance of funds or possessions that are unexplained.
This type of self inflicted harm can occur and is not so easily spotted unless the care provider is on top of their game. This occurs when an elderly person’s behavior becomes a threat to his or her safety. This normally happens with an older adult, who refuses or fails to provide themselves with shelter, adequate food, water, clothing. Often, personal hygiene or prescribed medications, as well as practicing safety precautions are at risk.
Self neglect does not include situations where the older adult is mentally competent. It means they must have a complete understanding of the consequences of their decisions. This is a conscious or voluntary decision to act in way that could threaten his or her health or safety and is a choice. So it means they know, rather than not being aware of the consequences their actions could bring.
What are Some Signs and Symptoms of Self Neglect?
The common signs and symptoms of self neglect can include the following, but are not limited to:
- Improper or untreated medical conditions.
- Lack of proper personal hygiene.
- Living in unclean or unsanitary conditions. This can include insect infestations, urine or fecal odor, non functioning toilet, and animal waste.
- Unsafe or hazardous living conditions or arrangements. This includes having no running water, indoor plumbing, no heat or improper wiring.
- Living in grossly inadequate housing.
- Being homeless.
Above are the many signs and symptoms of elder abuse and neglect. If you have seen this in a person under care, or elderly, do the right thing. Report this to law enforcement and help the victim get an elder abuse attorney.