What is Elder Abuse?

What is elder abuse?

Elder abuse is a term referring to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult. The specificity of laws varies from state to state, but broadly defined, abuse may be:

  • Physical Abuse - Inflicting, or threatening to inflict, physical pain or injury on a vulnerable elder, or depriving them of a basic need.
  • Emotional Abuse - Inflicting mental pain, anguish, or distress on an elder person through verbal or nonverbal acts.
  • Sexual Abuse - Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind.
  • Exploitation - Illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a vulnerable elder.
  • Neglect - Refusal or failure by those responsible to provide food, shelter, health care or protection for a vulnerable elder.
  • 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 of elder abuse?

While one sign does not necessarily indicate abuse, some tell-tale signs that there could be a problem are:

  • Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, and burns may be an indication of physical abuse, neglect, or mistreatment.
  • Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, and unusual depression may be indicators of emotional abuse.
  • Bruises around the breasts or genital area can occur from sexual abuse.
  • Sudden changes in financial situations may be the result of exploitation.
  • Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, and unusual weight loss are indicators of possible neglect.
  • Behavior such as belittling, threats, and other uses of power and control by spouses are indicators of verbal or emotional abuse.
  • Strained or tense relationships, frequent arguments between the caregiver and elderly person are also signs.

Have you or someone you know fallen victim of nursing home abuse or neglect? If so, contact one of our experienced nursing home attorneys in your area today!

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