It is estimated that over 2 million older Americans are the victims of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation each year.
What is elder abuse?
Elder abuse is any action or inaction that threatens the health or well-being of an older adult.
Who is at risk?
Men and women of all races and economic levels, and regardless of physical or mental health status can be victims of mistreatment.
Who might abuse an elder?
Most frequently, the perpetrator is someone the elder knows such as a neighbor, an adult child or other family member, or a care provider.
What are the types of elder abuse?
Physical Abuse – the non-accidental use of force that results in physical pain or injury.
Signs: Bruises, burns, broken bones, traumatic hair loss, use of physical restraints or improper use of certain types of medications.
Emotional Abuse – Willfully causing mental or emotional distress, humiliation, intimidation or threats.
Signs: Cowers in the presence of the abuser, the elder is isolated from others, is fearful, or feels anxious or depressed.
Sexual Abuse – Any form of sexual contact without consent of the elder.
Signs: Bruises on thighs, genitals, or breast area, sexually transmitted disease, torn/bloodied undergarments.
Financial Exploitation – Illegal or improper use of an elder’s resources for profit or gain.
Signs: Unpaid bills, shut-off notices, unusual changes in banking habits, excessive use of ATM or credit cards, lack of adequate care when the elder has sufficient funds available.
Neglect – The failure of caregivers either intentionally or unintentionally to provide needed care.
Signs: Unkempt appearance, malnourishment, dehydration, skin breakdown (bedsores), lack of medical care.
Also of great concern to older adults:
Self-neglect – when individuals may threaten their own health or safety by failing to provide for their basic daily needs.
Domestic violence – an escalating pattern of violence or intimidation by an intimate partner, which is used to gain power or control. Domestic violence can begin earlier in life and continue through older adulthood, or have a late onset in old age.