Understanding the Different Types of Elder Abuse
Countless cases of elder abuse are reported across the United States annually. In Colorado, there are more than 11,000 cases of abuse, exploitation, and neglect in older adults each year—and those are just the reported cases.
Many cases of elder abuse can go unreported for years. To understand the problem, and to keep your loved ones safe, it’s important to understand and recognize the different types of elder abuse. Here are some of the most common forms, many of which occur in Colorado:
- Physical abuse: This form of elder abuse is described as a non-accidental use of force that results in physical pain or injury. However, physical abuse can also include inappropriate use of drugs and medication, restraints, or confinement. An example includes a caretaker locking an elderly man or woman in their room for an extended period of time without providing them necessary care.
To identify signs of physical abuse—and to keep the abuse from happening again—be on the lookout for bruises, changes in behavior, broken bones, fear of caregivers, and other similar warning signs.
- Financial exploitation: Those within the elderly community are often victims of financial exploitation. Generally, this means that someone who is unauthorized has used an elderly person’s funds or property. This could be a caregiver or even an outside scam artist.
To identify signs of financial exploitation, look for evidence of misused personal checks, credit cards, or bank accounts. Exploiters will also forge signatures, steal income, or engage in identity theft when preying on vulnerable elders.
- Emotional abuse: Emotional or psychological abuse can have severe effects on elderly men and women. If you notice a caregiver speaking to or treating your loved one in a way that causes emotional turmoil, they may be experiencing emotional abuse. Other types of emotional abuse also include humiliation, ridicule, neglect, accusations, and isolation. If your loved one is experiencing emotional abuse, they may seem withdrawn, frightened, or may even display behavior that mimics dementia.
- Sexual abuse: Sexual abuse, or contact with elderly persons who cannot or do not give consent, is another common form of elder abuse. It can range from physical sexual acts to forcing an elder to undress to sexual harassment. Indications of sexual abuse include ripped, stained, or bloody clothes, and bruises around private areas of the body.
- Neglect: Neglecting the elderly is another very common form of abuse among older adults. An elder who is being neglected is not having their basic needs met. A neglected elder may not be receiving the food, water, healthcare, clothing, shelter, or hygiene they need to live happily and comfortably. Neglect can be both intentional or unintentional, and can be caused by caregivers and family members alike.
At Bachus & Schanker, LLC, we know that your loved ones’ health, safety, and happiness are important, and that’s why we’re here for you. If your loved one has suffered any form of elder abuse, contact our team at Bachus & Schanker, LLC today to get the best compensation and representation they deserve.
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