Elder Abuse

//Elder Abuse
Elder Abuse 2017-11-14T21:35:34+00:00

What Is Elder Abuse?

The willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, or punishment with resulting physical harm, pain or mental anguish. This includes deprivation of goods/services that are necessary to maintain physical, mental, and psycho-social well-being.

  • Physical abuse is inflicting, or threatening to inflict, physical pain or injury on a vulnerable elder, or depriving them of a basic need.
  • Sexual abuse is the infliction of non-consensual sexual contact of any kind. Emotional/psychological abuse is the infliction of mental/emotional distress through verbal or nonverbal acts.
  • Financial or material exploitation is the illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets.
  • Neglect is the refusal or failure by those responsible to provide food, shelter, health care, or protection. Self-neglect is characterized as the behavior of an elderly person that threatens his/her own health or safety.
  • Abandonment—the desertion of a vulnerable elder by anyone who has assumed the responsibility for care or custody of that person.

What are the Warning Signs?

  • Bruises, cuts, burn or rope marks, and broken bones or sprains that can’t be explained.
  • Refusal of the caregiver to allow you to visit the older person alone.
  • Dehydration, malnourishment, weight loss and poor hygiene. Bed sores, soiled bedding, unmet medical needs and comments about being mistreated also may indicate a problem.
  • Changes in an older person’s behavior or emotional state may suggest a problem. Examples include agitation, withdrawal, fear or anxiety, apathy, or reports of being treated improperly.
  • Unaccounted for financial changes such as missing money or valuables, unexplained financial transactions, unpaid bills despite available funds and sudden transfer of assets. Another sign may be older adults who are controlling their finances but don’t allow relatives to see their records.

How Can the Elderly Protect Themselves from Abuse?

  • Stay connected with loved ones.
  • Stay active in the community.
  • Plan for your own future by having a Power of Attorney and living will. This can help alleviate pressure from your family should you be unable to make decisions. Always seek advice prior to signing legal documents.
  • Know your rights. You have the right to voice your concerns and preferences. If you live in a nursing or adult care home, the Ombudsman is your advocate and will intervene on your behalf.

What Can You Do About Elder Abuse?

If you suspect that an older person is being abused or neglected, Adult Protective Services (APS) is the primary agency to accept reports:

Medicaid Fraud Control Units—investigates and prosecutes Medicaid provider fraud and patient abuse and neglect in health care programs and home health services that participate in Medicaid. (919) 881-2334