Today is the 6th anniversary of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. There are several different types of elder abuse that occur far too often in this country and around the world. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) defines elder abuse as intentional or neglectful acts by a caregiver or “trusted” individual that lead to, or may lead to, harm of a vulnerable elder. Tens of thousands of elderly Americans are abused every year in their homes and in the facilities responsible for their care. To increase the awareness of this horrible issue, we wanted to give a brief overview of the different types of elder and nursing home abuse.
Types of Elder and Nursing Home Abuse
– Physical Abuse is the non-accidental use of physical force that may result in injury, physical pain or impairment of an elderly person. Physical abuse includes acts of violence such as hitting, beating, shaking, shoving, kicking and burning as well as inappropriate use of medications, physical restraints, depriving basic needs and force-feeding.
– Physical Neglect is the refusal or failure to provide medical services, hygiene or basic life needs such as food, water, shelter, healthcare, and protection to an elderly person that exposes them to severe risk or harm. Neglect is the most common form of elder abuse, accounting for 49% of cases. The physical signs of neglect are often easy to find, poor personal hygiene, soiled bedding, smell, untreated cuts or sores, and poor dental hygiene.
– Emotional or Psychological Abuse is the infliction of mental pain, anguish, or distress through verbal or nonverbal acts towards an elderly person. This includes verbal assaults, threats, humiliation, insults, and harassment. Nonverbal abuse includes ignoring the elderly, treating them like an infant, or isolating them from their friends, family, and regular activities. Emotional abuse is harder to detect unless witnessed first hand. It is important to look for changes in behavior, fear of certain care workers, and anxiety and withdrawal.
– Sexual Abuse is non-consensual sexual contact of any kind with an elderly person. This can include, but is not limited to, unwanted touching, all sexual acts, coerced nudity, and sexually explicit photography. Any of these acts with a person who is incapable of giving consent is considered sexual abuse.
– Abandonment is when the person who has assumed responsibility to care for a vulnerable elder has deserted, neglected or failed to fulfill the caretaking obligation. This can either be intentional or unintentional based on ignorance or denial of the amount of care the elder actually needs.
– Financial Abuse is the illegal taking or misuse of funds, property, or assets of a vulnerable elder. Some examples include cashing an elderly person’s checks without authorization, forging signatures, stealing money or possessions, identity theft, deceiving an older person into signing any document such as contracts or wills, and the improper use of conservatorship, guardianship, or power of attorney.
Elder Abuse Lawyers in New Jersey and Philadelphia
The elderly are a vulnerable population that needs our help and understanding. They have paved the way for us and provided us with opportunities that, without them, we wouldn’t have had. It is disgraceful to essentially throw them away when they become difficult to care for. Our elderly loved ones deserve to live and die with the same dignity that we feel we are entitled to. Don’t let elder abuse continue at the same alarming and depraved rate at which it occurs now.
If your loved one is currently a resident of a nursing home or care facility and you are worried that the care they are receiving is negligent, abusive, or inadequate, contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation. You may also call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.