Elder abuse is one of the fastest growing and most insidious problems in America and around the world. It often starts off with a rather innocuous look, your elderly neighbor, aunt, or parent suddenly has a new younger friend. At first everything seems to be well, in fact you might even think it is great they have companionship on such a regular basis.
Types of Elderly Abuse
The abuse itself can take some forms:
Psychological Elder Abuse
In the case of psychological elder abuse money and assets are usually taken, starting at a smaller value and with the thief working their way up.
Often confusing the elderly individual and masking their stealing as financial “help or investments”. Since ability to handle finances declines steadily with age, it becomes easier for these scam artists to get their hands on the money.
Physical Elder Abuse
Physical elder abuse is more common in nursing homes. This type of elder abuse often goes unreported and is relatively easy for staff in the nursing home to cover up.
Many nursing home lawyers, who represent elderly people and their families who are the victims of elder abuse, say it is easy for staff to pass off bruises as the result of a fall on the part of the elderly individual.
Since it is likely the elderly relative has already had at least one or two verified falls, the claim is not investigated any further.
Neglect occurs when a caregiver fails to provide the necessary care and support for an elderly person’s well-being. This can include neglecting basic needs such as food, shelter, hygiene, and medical attention.
Sexual abuse involves any non-consensual sexual contact or activity imposed on an elderly person. This can range from unwanted touching to more severe forms of sexual assault.
Emotional abuse targets an elderly individual’s emotional well-being. It can involve manipulation, threats, constant criticism, or any behavior aimed at causing distress or emotional harm.
What Should You Do if Someone Suffering from Elder Abuse?
So what should you do if you feel someone you love may be suffering from elder abuse at the hands of nursing home staff?
- Check for Known Signs of Abuse: The known signs of abuse are weight loss that cannot be medically explained, depression, financial changes/money disappearing, poor hygiene and withdrawal. If any of these signs are present further investigation is required.
- Contact Adult Protective Services: In non-emergency situations, reach out to your local Adult Protective Services agency. They specialize in investigating and addressing cases of elder abuse.
- Make Surprise Visits: Change your visiting patterns and make them as erratic as possible. This is likely to catch the staff off guard. If they are abusing your elderly loved one this will make it much more difficult to hide because they do not know when you just might walk in on your elderly loved one.
- Take them to a Doctor: Get a doctor’s opinion on their recent “fall” many doctors specializing in ageing will be able to tell if a bruise is from a real fall or a work of fiction.
- Monitor their Banking: Monitor their banking to look for missing money, or money being withdrawn. Make it your business to know their financial status and to question withdrawals.
- Hire a Lawyer: A nursing home lawyer can help you investigate possible elder abuse, and if abuse is found to be present take action to put a stop to it and gain compensation for the victim.