Sadly, over 5 million older adults suffer elder abuse each year. Unless the signs of abuse are obvious, it can be difficult for outside parties to recognize it. Worse still, the victim may be too afraid to speak out against their abuser. It’s important to be vigilant and learn to spot signs of elder abuse. These guidelines will help you do just that!
According to the American Psychological Association, physical abuse is the intentional use of force against an elderly victim. Types of physical elder abuse may include:
Signs and symptoms of physical abuse may include but are not limited to:
Emotional abuse is any sort of maltreatment that affects a senior’s emotional or psychological well-being. It may take the form of verbal abuse or insults, as well. Common types of emotional abuse may include:
Signs and symptoms of emotional abuse may include but are not limited to:
Unfortunately, elders are also susceptible to sexual abuse. This describes any form of non-consensual sexual activity. Some forms of sexual abuse may include:
Some signs and symptoms of elder sexual abuse include but are not limited to:
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, neglect is defined as “the refusal or failure to fulfill any part of a person’s obligations or duties to an elder.” This can refer to physical needs or financial responsibilities (i.e. forgetting to make a payment on behalf of a senior). Neglect may include:
Sadly, caregivers or family members may attempt to exploit older adults for personal profit. Financial abuse may include:
Signs of financial abuse may include but are not limited to:
Elder abuse is no respecter of persons. It can happen to any older adult, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, and gender. Disconcertingly, elder abuse can occur in the most trusted places: hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or even one’s home. While elder abuse can affect a wide range of older adults, there are certain risk factors that may make one more susceptible to maltreatment. Common risk factors may include:
Sadly, one out of six adults over 60 have suffered abuse in the United States alone. While these statistics are devastating, there’s good news. We can work together to prevent elder abuse. Here are a few ways you can do just that:
You must report elder abuse to prevent it. If you or somebody you know is in immediate danger, call 911. If the victim is not in immediate danger, but there are signs of abuse, notify Adult Protective Services.
Originally published April 26, 2023
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