Most people think that elder abuse is something that occurs in bad nursing homes. While this is true, elder abuse happens outside of nursing homes too; the family home is no exception. The purpose of Elder Abuse Awareness Day is to educate people on ways to identify elder abuse so that it can be stopped. A Boston elder abuse attorney can help you determine how to proceed if a loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect.
Types of Elder Abuse
There are many types of elder abuse; it’s not always physical. The main types to look for include:
- Physical abuse: This type of abuse encompasses everything from hitting and using excessive force to sexual abuse. Signs of physical abuse include injuries such as bruises, broken bones, rope burns, welts, and burns. The victim may appear depressed, withdrawn, or fearful.
- Financial Abuse: This type of abuse usually involves an individual who misuses the victim’s financial benefits or assets as his or her own. It’s often a family member. In some cases, financial abuse can involve an unknown person who tricks the victim into handing over money. This can be done in person, over the phone, or online. Signs of financial abuse include an unexplained depletion of assets, and unexplained missing personal items such as jewelry, furniture, and even hearing aids.
- Neglect: This type of abuse occurs when an elderly person is neglected or abandoned by someone who is supposed to provide their care, such as nursing home staff, a home-health aide, or a family member. Signs of neglect include malnourishment and dehydration, poor hygiene, bed sores, linens and clothing that smell of urine, medical needs not being met, over-sedation, and depression.
Who is Abusing and Who is Being Abused?
Elder abuse can occur anywhere, but the vast majority of elder abusers are family members. Consider the following statistics:
- 90 percent of elder abusers are family members.
- Of that 90 percent, approximately 50 percent are children and about 20 percent are partners.
- More than 50 percent of elder abuse victims are over the age of 80.
- Two-thirds of victims are women.
- 60 percent of victims have dementia.
- 40 percent of victims suffer from depression.
How to Stop Elder Abuse
If you suspect that your elderly loved one is being abused or neglected, it’s important to know how to stop it. In some cases, involving the authorities is necessary. Tell at least one person – law enforcement, a social worker, or a healthcare provider. It’s not uncommon for an elderly person to conceal abuse or neglect out of fear of retaliation from the abuser. A MA elder abuse lawyer can review your case to determine the best legal strategy for moving forward. Elder abuse cases can be complex, and how they are handled varies widely. Financial abuse and sexual abuse cases, for example, will likely be approached in very different ways.
You can also look for signs of abuse by watching the suspected abuser. If a care provider seems to be attempting to dominate your loved one, is verbally abusive, handles your loved one “roughly,” is continually concerned about money, or if you suspect that he or she has substance abuse or mental health problems, you might want to take a closer look. Any of the above may be cause for concern. Continue reading