If you have elderly loved ones, such as older parents, it is likely they need some degree of help in their daily lives. In addition to the help you provide, your senior relative may be assisted by nursing home staff or by a home caregiver. They may even be assisted by another member of your family or a close friend.
While many people have nothing but good intentions when helping the elderly, it is an unfortunate fact of life that elder abuse does exist. That is why it is integral that family members of the abuse victim are able to readily identify the signs so they can intervene. The following are a few different types of elder abuse and how they can be recognized.
Many seniors live on a fixed income, which makes financial abuse all the more damaging. The person enacting the abuse may make withdrawals from the senior’s bank account, or use their credit card to make personal purchases. Financial elder abuse can also include changing legal documents so the person receives money from the senior’s estate or has control over their finances. If your loved one has not experienced any changes in financial status and is suddenly having issues paying bills, financial abuse could be to blame.
Physical abuse of the elderly does not only entail hitting, punching, or kicking. It can also include confining a senior to a single room and not letting him leave, as well as physically restraining a person to a bed or chair. While accidents can definitely happen, especially when a person has mobility issues, continuous injuries like cuts, abrasions, strains, sprains, and broken bones are not normal. In the very least, the person providing care is being derelict in their duties, which is considered elder neglect.
Psychological and emotional abuse can be just as traumatizing as physical abuse. These behaviors include harsh criticisms, insults, threats, and belittling statements intended to undercut the person’s self-esteem. Unlike physical abuse, there will be no bruises or cuts to indicate a problem. However, the victim may exhibit behavioral changes, such as appearing withdrawn or timid. Depression and insomnia are also common with emotional abuse, and these issues are especially alarming when the person has not experienced them previously.