June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
The vast majority of elder abuse is committed at the hands of family members, often by caregivers who are simply pushed to their limits by the demands of caring for an aging loved one on top of caring for children, working and other of life’s obligations. Vigilant aging services professionals can either help prevent or recognize and report mistreatment of older adults.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) there are six kinds of abuse that might occur to an older adult.
Types & warning signs of elder abuse
Physical abuse: Use of force to threaten or physically injure a vulnerable elder. Warning signs: Slap marks, unexplained bruises, pressure sores, and certain types of burns or blisters, such as cigarette burns
Emotional abuse: Verbal attacks, threats, rejection, isolation or belittling acts that cause or could cause mental anguish, pain or distress to a senior.
Warning signs: Withdrawal from normal activities, unexplained changes in alertness, or other unusual behavior changes
Sexual abuse: Sexual contact that is forced, tricked, threatened or otherwise coerced upon a vulnerable elder, including anyone who is unable to grant consent.
Warning signs: Bruises around the breasts or genital area and unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
Exploitation: Theft, fraud, misuse or neglect of authority and use of undue influence to gain control over an older person’s money or property.
Warning signs: Sudden change in finances and accounts, altered wills and trusts, unusual bank withdrawals, checks written as “loans” or “gifts” and loss of property
Neglect: A caregiver’s failure or refusal to provide for a vulnerable elder’s safety, physical or emotional needs.
Warning signs: Pressure ulcers, filth, lack of medical care, malnutrition or dehydration
Abandonment: Desertion of a frail or vulnerable elder by anyone with a duty of care.
By the University of Indianapolis – Center for Aging & Community