It may seem unthinkable to you, but many people aged 60 and older are the targets of abuse. As explained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, elder abuse involves the mistreatment of seniors, either as a result of intentional actions or due to neglect.
Abuse takes a very serious toll on victims, mentally, physically, and even financially in some cases. Safeguarding your loved one from mistreatment is crucial, and this guide provides basic information so you can do just that.
Type of elder abuse
There are several types of elder abuse, including:
- Physical - Hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, and pushing are common forms of physical abuse. When enacted on an elderly person already suffering from medical conditions or poor mobility, this form of abuse is especially damaging.
- Emotional/psychological - Verbal abuse involves threats, insults, and harassment of a senior. While it is not physically damaging, it can cause a great deal of mental and emotional anguish in a person.
- Financial - Scamming or stealing money from an elderly person on a fixed income can have a devastating effect. Financial abuse may occur at the hands of nursing home staff, a caregiver, family member, or friend.
Neglect also falls into the category of abuse, even if harm is not caused intentionally. Failing to meet a person’s needs, including providing nutritious meals and hydration, or ensuring bathing occurs on a daily basis, is considered neglect.
How you can safeguard elderly loved ones
Visit or call your loved one as much as possible. Encourage them to be open about their lives and any difficulties they are facing. Choose nursing homes, adult day care centers, and home health aides carefully. If you believe your loved one is being abused by another person in their household, contact Adult Protective Services immediately.