The National Council on Aging (NCOA) claims that about 1 in 10 Americans 60 years old or older has experienced some form of elder abuse. The agency defines elder abuse into seven different types. Knowing about these types can help protect older individuals, especially those residing in nursing homes.
An act or inaction by someone who has power over an elderly individual that could result in harm is considered elder abuse. This type of abuse can involve a variety of actions and inactions.
The National Council on Aging recognizes seven main types of elder abuse:
- Physical Abuse: This involves physical harm or injury caused to an older person, such as hitting, shoving, kicking, or restraining them.
- Emotional or Psychological Abuse: This includes verbal or nonverbal behavior that causes mental anguish, fear, or distress in an older adult, such as yelling, insulting, intimidating, or ignoring them.
- Sexual Abuse: This involves any sexual activity and physical abuse and emotional abuse forced upon an older person without their consent, including sexual touching, assault, or rape.
- Neglect: This involves the failure to provide older adults with the necessary care, support, or assistance they need, including food, shelter, clothing, and medical care.
- Financial Abuse or Exploitation: This involves the illegal or unethical use of an older person’s financial resources, property, or assets, including theft, fraud, scams, or undue influence.
- Abandonment occurs when a caregiver or responsible person deserts an older adult, leaving them without necessary care or support.
- Self-Neglect: This involves an older person’s refusal or failure to provide for their basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, or medical care, due to physical or mental impairment or other factors.
Older individuals and their loved ones must be aware of all types of elder abuse. This can help prevent misuse from happening in the first place.
You should take action if you or a loved one has been abused or neglected in a nursing home. Get a free case review to learn more about how to address this issue.
Quick Elder Abuse Reference Guide
- In addition to physical and emotional abuse, elder abuse can include sexual and financial exploitation.
- Trusted individuals, such as family members or staff members at nursing homes, commit most types of elder abuse. Elders can also mistreat themselves through neglect.
- The NCOA claims that elders are more likely to report instances of financial exploitation than neglect, physical abuse, or emotional abuse.
- According to the NCEA, psychological abuse is regarded as the most common abuse of older adults.
More About Physical Abuse or Sexual Abuse
Physical elder abuse is a type of abuse that involves using force against an elderly individual. It can be done by striking, pushing, or restraining them.
Signs of physical elder abuse can include:
- Unexplained bruises, cuts, or welts on the body.
- Broken bones, sprains, or dislocations that cannot be explained.
- Marks on wrists or ankles from restraints.
- Signs of being restrained or tied up include rope burns or scars.
- Burns from cigarettes or hot water.
- Withdrawal from everyday activities and relationships.
- Depression, anxiety, or fearfulness.
- Sudden changes in behavior or personality indicative of sexual abue.
- Caregiver’s refusal to allow visitors to see the elder alone to hide the sexual abuse.
- Reluctance to speak openly in front of the caregiver.
It is important to note that these signs do not necessarily indicate physical abuse on their own but may indicate other issues, such as neglect or self-harm. If you suspect physical abuse or any other form of elder abuse, immediately report it to the appropriate authorities.
Emotional elder abuse can be more challenging to identify than physical abuse because it doesn’t leave visible marks, but there are still some signs to look for.
Some of the symptoms of physical or sexual abuse leading to emotional elder abuse include:
- Verbal threats, insults, or intimidation by a caregiver or family member.
- Withdrawal or sudden changes in behavior, such as becoming fearful, anxious, or depressed.
- Unexplained changes in weight, such as rapid weight gain or loss, due to differences in appetite or eating habits.
- Self-soothing behaviors such as rocking, sucking, or biting.
- Agitation, restlessness, or aggressiveness towards others.
- Isolation or restriction of social interactions with friends or family members.
- Unexplained financial transactions, such as large withdrawals or changes to bank accounts.
- Unexplained or sudden changes in legal documents such as wills or power of attorney.
If you suspect an older adult is experiencing emotional or sexual abuse, seeking help and reporting the abuse to the appropriate authorities is important. Emotional abuse can have serious and long-lasting effects on an elder’s physical and mental health.
Have You or Your Loved One Suffered Elderly Abuse?
Connect the Elder Abuse Lawyers
Even though many elders suffer from various health issues, they should never be subjected to neglect, or physical or sexual abuse. This quiz will help you identify potential signs of abuse in a nursing home as well as elder sexual abuse and unwanted touching or sexually explicit photographing without giving consent.
Who are the typical victims of elder and nursing home abuse or neglect? Elder and nursing home abuse or neglect can happen to anyone, but certain factors can make an individual more vulnerable.
The typical victims of elder and nursing home abuse or neglect are:
- Elderly individuals: People over 65 are at an increased risk of being victims of abuse or neglect, particularly if they have physical or cognitive disabilities and untreated infections.
- Women: Women are more likely to be victims of elder abuse than men, especially women with dementia or other cognitive impairments.
- Socially isolated individuals: Those who are socially isolated or lack a support network are more vulnerable to abuse or neglect as they may be less likely to report acts considered sexual abuse or neglect or have someone to advocate for them.
- Those with disabilities or chronic illnesses: Individuals with disabilities or chronic diseases, particularly those who are bedridden or have limited mobility, may be at a higher risk of abuse or neglect and warrant a visit from adult protective services.
- Residents of long-term care facilities: Those who reside in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes or assisted living facilities, are at a higher risk of abuse or neglect due to the power dynamic between the residents and the caregivers. So if you suspect abuse, pick up our phone and seek financial compensation on behalf of those physically harmed and their loved ones.
It is important to note that elder abuse and neglect, including verbal assaults, can happen to anyone regardless of gender, ethnicity, or social status. Any signs of abuse or neglect, sexually transmitted diseases, physical force, including untreated injuries should be taken seriously and reported to the appropriate authorities.
What is Sexual Elder Abuse?
Was your loved one sexually abused or subjected to physical violence as a mentally competent older person with physical issues? Sexual elder abuse is a form of elder abuse that involves any sexual contact or activity forced upon an older adult without their consent. It can take many forms, including unwanted sexual touching, sexual assault, rape, or forced nudity. Sexual elder abuse can be committed by a caregiver, family member, friend, or stranger unless you take safety precautions to protect vulnerable elderly women and others at assisted living facilities.
Older adults who are particularly vulnerable to sexual elder abuse are those with physical or cognitive disabilities, socially isolated, and unable to communicate effectively.
Signs of sexual elder abuse may include unexplained bruises or injuries to the genitals or breasts, difficulty walking or sitting, sexually transmitted infections, and sudden changes in behavior or personality.
It is important to report any suspected sexual elder abuse to the appropriate authorities immediately. Sexual elder abuse can have serious and long-lasting physical and psychological effects on the victim, and it is important to seek help and support for the victim.
Other Elder Neglect Examples
Elder neglect is a form of elder abuse that involves the failure of a caregiver to provide necessities such as food, shelter, and medical care to an older adult under their supervision. Some examples of elder neglect include:
- Failure to provide adequate nutrition or hydration can lead to malnutrition or dehydration.
- Failure to provide necessary medical care, including medication and treatment for illnesses or injuries.
- Poor hygiene and sanitation lead to infections or other health problems.
- Abandonment or desertion of an older adult in need of care.
- Failure to provide necessary assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and toileting.
- Failure to provide a safe living environment, including protection from hazards such as slippery floors or broken furniture.
- Social isolation, including preventing the elder from leaving home or having contact with friends or family members.
Elder neglect can have severe and life-threatening consequences, and it is essential to report any suspected neglect to the appropriate authorities immediately.
What is Elder Self-Neglect?
Elder self-neglect is a form of elder abuse that occurs when older adult fails to take care of themselves, including their basic needs for food, shelter, and medical care. This can include neglecting personal hygiene, refusing medication or seeking medical attention, and living in unsafe or unsanitary conditions.
Physical or cognitive impairments, mental health issues, social isolation, or a lack of financial resources can cause elder self-neglect. It can also result from depression or other mental health issues that make it difficult for the elder to take care of themselves.
Signs of elder self-neglect may include poor hygiene, malnutrition, dehydration, living in unsanitary or unsafe conditions, hoarding or clutter, and wearing inappropriate clothing for the weather.
Elder self-neglect can have severe and life-threatening consequences, and caretakers and certified caregivers need to report any suspected self-neglect to the appropriate authorities. However, it is also essential to recognize that oldcane right to make decisions about their own lives. Intervention should only occur if the elder is incapable of making decisions in their best interests.
What is Elder Abandonment?
Elder abandonment is a form of elder abuse that occurs when a caregiver or family member responsible for caring for an elderly person leaves them alone and fails to provide them with necessary care or support. Abandonment can occur in many forms, including physical abandonment, emotional abandonment, or financial abandonment.
Physical abandonment involves leaving an older adult alone without access to necessities such as food, water, shelter, and medical care. Emotional abandonment consists of neglecting the older adult’s emotional needs, such as not providing them with social interaction or emotional support. Financial abandonment involves taking advantage of an elderly person by stealing from them or denying them access to their own finances.
Elder abandonment can have serious consequences, resulting in physical harm, emotional trauma, financial exploitation, and even death. Signs of elder abandonment may include unexplained injuries, malnutrition or dehydration, untreated medical conditions, and social isolation.
It is important to report any suspected elder abandonment to the appropriate authorities, as the elderly person may be in immediate danger and need assistance. Caregivers and family members who abandon an elderly person can face criminal charges and may be held financially liable for any harm resulting from their actions.
What is Emotional Elder Abuse?
Emotional elder abuse is a form of elder abuse that involves the infliction of mental anguish or distress on an elderly person through verbal or non-verbal acts. It can take many forms, including verbal abuse, intimidation, humiliation, isolation, and harassment.
A caregiver, family member, friend, or even a stranger can perpetrate emotional elder abuse. It can occur in many settings, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and in the home of the elderly person.
Signs of emotional elder abuse may include changes in behavior or personality, depression, anxiety, social withdrawal, and a sudden loss of interest in hobbies or activities.
Emotional elder abuse can have serious and long-lasting effects on the victim’s mental and physical health, including increased risk of depression, anxiety, and physical health problems.
It is important to report any suspected emotional elder abuse to the appropriate authorities immediately. Emotional elder abuse seriously violates an elderly person’s rights and can have serious and long-lasting consequences. Victims of emotional elder abuse may require counseling and support to overcome the trauma they have experienced.
What are some signs of emotional and psychological elder abuse?
- Verbal aggression, such as yelling, insulting, or threatening the elderly person
- Ignoring or isolating the elderly person from social activities or visitors
- Humiliating or ridiculing the elderly person in public or in private
- Controlling or manipulating the elderly person’s decisions, actions, or finances
- Blaming or scapegoating the elderly person for problems that are not their fault
- Ignoring or dismissing the elderly person’s needs or emotions
- Withholding affection, communication, or physical contact with the elderly person
- Treating the elderly person like a child or infantilizing them
- Refusing to allow the elderly person to participate in activities or make decisions about their own life
- Threatening or withholding necessary care or medical attention
- Creating an atmosphere of fear or intimidation in the presence of the elderly person.
These signs may indicate that an elderly person is experiencing emotional or psychological abuse. It is important to report any suspected abuse to the appropriate authorities or seek help from a medical professional.
Define Financial Elder Abuse
Financial elder abuse is the illegal or improper use of an elderly person’s finances, property, or assets for personal gain, often without the senior’s informed consent or understanding. This type of abuse can include stealing, misusing funds, taking property, or convincing an elderly person to sign documents such as wills, contracts, or powers of attorney under false pretenses. Financial elder abuse is considered a form of elder abuse. It is a serious crime that can have devastating consequences for seniors, including loss of savings, poverty, and diminished quality of life.
What are Some Warning Signs of Elder Financial Abuse?
There are several warning signs that may indicate elder financial abuse. Here are some common signs to look out for:
- Sudden or unexplained changes in an elder’s financial situation, such as significant withdrawals, transfers or depletion of bank accounts, or unexplained purchases.
- Unpaid bills or notices of overdue bills may indicate that someone is diverting funds or neglecting financial responsibilities.
- Unusual or inappropriate financial activity, such as frequent ATM withdrawals, new credit cards or accounts being opened, or sudden changes to estate planning documents.
- Isolation from friends and family members may indicate that the elder is being manipulated or coerced into financial abuse.
- Uncharacteristic behavior or mood changes, such as fear, anxiety, or depression, may indicate emotional abuse or manipulation.
- Unexplained physical injuries or neglect may indicate that the elder is being mistreated or exploited.
It’s important to note that these signs don’t necessarily mean that elder financial abuse occurs. Still, they should prompt further investigation and intervention to ensure the elder’s safety and well-being. Suppose you suspect that someone you know is a victim of elder financial abuse. In that case, it’s essential to report it to the appropriate authorities and seek help from a trusted professional or organization.
According to the MetLife Study of Elder Financial Abuse, financial abuse costs elders an estimated $2.9 billion annually. It is the most commonly self-reported type of elder abuse.
What to Do If You Suspect Elder Abuse
The MetLife Study of Elder Financial Abuse was a report published in 2011 that analyzed the prevalence, characteristics, and consequences of elder financial abuse in the United States. The study found that the annual financial loss suffered by elderly Americans due to financial abuse is estimated to be at least $2.9 billion. This problem is likely to grow as the population ages. The study also found that family members and caregivers were the most common perpetrators of elder financial abuse. The abuse often went unreported due to shame or fear of retaliation. Finally, the study highlighted the need for increased awareness and prevention efforts and stronger legal protections for seniors vulnerable to financial exploitation.
How Do I Report Elder Abuse In California?
If you suspect an elder in California is being abused, neglected, or exploited, you can report the situation to the appropriate authorities. Here’s how:
- If the elder is in immediate danger, call 911 or the local police department.
- To report suspected elder abuse, contact the Adult Protective Services (APS) agency in the county where the elder resides. You can find the phone number for the APS agency in your area by visiting the California Department of Social Services website or by calling the statewide APS hotline at 1-833-401-0832.
- Suppose the elder is a resident of a long-term care facility such as a nursing home or assisted living facility. In that case, you can also report the abuse to the California Department of Public Health by calling their complaint hotline at 1-800-236-9747.
- If you suspect financial abuse, you can report it to the local law enforcement agency and the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse at 1-800-722-0432.
When reporting suspected elder abuse, be prepared to provide as much information as possible, including the name and address of the elder, the nature and extent of the abuse, the name and contact information of the suspected abuser, and any other relevant details. It’s also important to remember that reporting suspected elder abuse is a legal obligation in California. You cannot be held liable for making a good-faith report for defamation or a crime.
How To Get Legal Help From A Civil Elder Abuse Attorney
If you or a loved one has been a victim of civil elder abuse, it may be helpful to seek the assistance of a civil elder abuse attorney. Here are some steps you can take to get legal help:
- Research attorneys who specialize in elder law and civil elder abuse. Look for attorneys with experience in representing clients in civil elder abuse cases and a good track record of success.
- Schedule a consultation with the attorney. Many attorneys offer free consultations, during which you can discuss the details of your case and ask any questions you may have.
- Provide the attorney with all relevant documents and information related to the abuse. This may include medical and financial records and other evidence that can help support your case.
- Work with the attorney to develop a legal strategy. The attorney will help you understand your legal rights and options and work with you to create a strategy that best meets your needs and goals.
- Work with the attorney to prepare for trial if a lawsuit is filed. This may include gathering additional evidence, preparing witnesses, and attending court hearings.
It’s important to remember that civil elder abuse cases can be complex and emotionally challenging. Working with an attorney who understands the unique needs and challenges of elder abuse cases is essential. Working with an experienced civil elder abuse attorney can help protect your legal rights and hold those responsible for the abuse accountable.
Who Can Pursue Elder Abuse Charges or a Civil Claim?
In cases of elder abuse, criminal charges, and civil claims can be pursued by different parties, depending on the circumstances.
Here are some examples:
- Criminal charges: Criminal charges for elder abuse can be pursued by law enforcement agencies, such as the police or district attorney’s office. These charges can result in fines, imprisonment, or other penalties for the perpetrator of the abuse.
- Civil claims: Civil claims for elder abuse can be pursued by the victim of the abuse or by their legal representatives, such as a family member or a guardian. Civil claims can seek damages for financial losses, medical expenses, emotional distress, and other harms resulting from the abuse.
- State intervention: In some cases, state agencies, such as Adult Protective Services or the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, may pursue legal action to protect the rights and interests of vulnerable elders.
It’s important to note that different types of elder abuse, such as physical, financial, and neglect, may have different legal requirements for pursuing charges or claims. Additionally, statutes of limitations may apply, meaning there is a limited amount of time for charges or claims to be pursued. If you or a loved one has been a victim of elder abuse, it’s important to seek the advice of a qualified attorney or legal professional who can help you understand your legal rights and options.
What is the most commonly reported type of elder abuse?
According to various studies and data, financial exploitation is the most commonly reported type of elder abuse. Financial exploitation is the unauthorized or illegal use of an elder’s financial resources for the benefit of someone other than the elder. This can include stealing an elder’s money or property, forging their signature on financial documents, or coercing them into giving away their assets. It’s important to note that financial exploitation is often underreported, as elders may be reluctant to report the abuse due to fear, shame, or a lack of awareness of their rights. If you suspect an older adult is being financially exploited, it’s essential to report the situation to the appropriate authorities, such as Adult Protective Services or law enforcement agencies.
How can caring families prevent elder abuse?
Caring families can take several steps to prevent elder misuse, including:
- Stay involved: Maintain regular contact with your aging loved ones and stay engaged in their care and well-being. Ensure they receive appropriate medical care, social support, and financial management assistance.
- Educate yourself: Learn about the warning signs and risk factors of elder abuse and the different types of abuse. Educate yourself on how to recognize and report abuse if it occurs.
- Plan: Work with your aging loved ones to create a plan for their future care, including legal and financial planning. This can help prevent abuse from caregivers or other individuals seeking to take advantage of their vulnerability.
- Hire caregivers carefully: If you need to hire a caregiver for your loved one, carefully screen potential candidates and check their references and criminal backgrounds. Consider using a licensed home care agency or nursing home with a good reputation and track record.
- Encourage social connections: Loneliness and isolation can increase the risk of elder abuse. Encourage your aging loved ones to participate in social activities like volunteer work, clubs, or senior centers.
- Watch for signs of abuse: Be alert for any signs of abuse or neglect, such as unexplained bruises or injuries, changes in behavior, or sudden financial difficulties.
- Report suspected abuse: If you suspect an older adult is being abused or neglected, report the situation to the appropriate authorities, such as Adult Protective Services or law enforcement agencies.
By taking these steps, caring families can help prevent elder abuse and ensure their aging loved ones are safe and well-cared for.
Steps to Getting a Free Elder Abuse Case Review From Ehline Law Firm
To get a free elder abuse case review from Ehline Law Firm, you can follow these steps:
- Visit the Ehline Law Firm website: Https://www.ehlinelaw.com/ to learn more about the firm and its services.
- Click on “Contact Us”: On the website’s homepage, click on the “Contact Us” button in the top right corner.
- Fill out the contact form: Provide your name, phone number, email address, and a brief description of your legal issue. Make sure to specify that you seek a free elder abuse case review.
- Submit the form: Once you have filled out the contact form, click the “Submit” button to send it to the firm.
- Wait for a response: A representative from Ehline Law Firm will contact you within a few days to discuss your legal issue and schedule a free case review.
During the case review, an attorney from Ehline Law Firm will review the details of your case and advise you on your legal options. If you decide to pursue legal action, the firm can provide experienced representation and advocacy throughout the legal process.