Types of Elder Abuse
Personal Injury Lawyer
Elder abuse is any intentional, negligent act committed by someone who is caring for an elderly person. This could be a family member or even someone who has been entrusted with caring for an elderly person in a hospital or nursing home. The negligent act causes harm or risk of harm to an adult who is vulnerable. Unfortunately, older men and women are at risk for elder abuse and neglect because mental and physical impairment, dementia, alzheimer’s, and other memory-affecting illnesses make them vulnerable. Because the culprits are often family members, close friends, and caregivers, it’s hard to discover and also difficult for people to accept.
It’s important when attempting to identify the types of elder abuse to know what to look for.
Physical Elder Abuse
When a caregiver physically abuses an elder, it can mean a few things. Either they are inflicting bodily injuries onto them, or they could be neglecting or mistreating the elderly person while caring for them. Either way, if bodily harm is caused intentionally, there is grounds to report the abuse and find an attorney who specializes in elder abuse cases. Elder abuse can occur while the person is being cared for in their own home or even in assisted living facilities and homes for the aged.
Signs of Physical Abuse:
- Dehydration and malnutrition
- Cuts, lacerations and abrasions
- Fractures, discoloration or swelling
- Pain or tenderness to the touch
- Elder becomes depressed, withdrawn, or afraid.
- Elder fears being touched by anyone
Neglect is different from abuse in that the person who is acting as caregiver is failing to provide the elderly person with basic needs. They may withhold medical assistance, hygienic products, heat or air conditioning, water, food or even shelter. They may also over-medicate the elderly person in their care, neglect to properly treat them for bedsores (a sign that a patient has not been moved in their beds for some time).
While it’s tricky to identify neglect because it may not be as overtly harmful as physical abuse, neglect can lead to death in an elderly person because of their compromised immune systems and inability to fight off infection.
Signs of Neglect:
- Caregiver does not assist with medications
- Elder is isolated by caregiver
- Elder shows signs of grogginess when it is not appropriate for them to be tired
- Sudden weight loss
- Necessities such as hearing aids, walking aids, glasses, or dentures are missing
- Signs of dehydration or malnutrition
- Bedsores that are untreated
Financial abuse is another form of abuse that can inflict an elderly person. It is when the money, property, and assets of the elder are mismanaged by another person who has access to their information. Someone who has the elder’s credit card information, bank account access, and access to their assets can potentially steal from that elder. Elderly people are susceptible to being taken advantage of when it comes to their money, and so it’s important to be wary of who is given this information.
Signs of Financial Abuse:
- Bills are going unpaid every though the caregiver was given instruction to pay them
- There are changes to the elder’s will or power of attorney that they did not or could not make
- The elder does not have basic necessities even though they have the financial means to own them
- There is unusual activity in the elder’s accounts.
If you or someone you know is worried that their loved one is being neglected physically or financially, it is important to report that abuse right away and procure a lawyer who specializes in elder abuse cases.