Elder abuse tends to take place where the senior lives, so it is likely that elder abuse can occur in institutional settings, especially long-term care facilities.
Abuse of elders takes many different forms, some involving intimidation or threats against the elderly, some involving neglect, and others involving financial chicanery.
Physical elder abuse is non-accidental use of force against an elderly person that results in physical pain, injury, or impairment. Such abuse includes not only physical assaults such as hitting or shoving but the inappropriate use of drugs, restraints, or confinement.
In emotional or psychological abuse, people speak to or treat elderly persons in ways that cause emotional pain or distress.
Failure to fulfill a caretaking obligation constitutes more than half of all reported cases of elder abuse. It can be intentional or unintentional, based on factors such as ignorance or denial that an elderly charge needs as much care as he or she does.
Other forms of abuse include verbal forms of emotional elder abuse, such as intimidation or humiliation, ignoring the elderly person, financial exploitation, Healthcare fraud and abuse,
Learn to recognize the signs of abuse.
If you’re the family or friend of an individual in elder care, watch for warning signs that might indicate elder abuse. If you suspect abuse, report it. Look at the elder’s medications. Does the amount in the vial match up with the date of the prescription? Watch for possible financial abuse. Ask the elder if you may scan bank accounts and credit card statements for unauthorized transactions. Call and visit as often as you can. If you see bedsores, report it.
If you’re the individual getting care, try to protect yourself. Make sure your financial and legal affairs are in order. If they aren’t, enlist professional help to get them in order, with the assistance of a trusted friend or relative if necessary. Keep in touch with family and friends and avoid becoming isolated. If you are unhappy with the care you’re receiving, whether it’s in your own home or in a care facility, speak up. Tell someone you trust and ask that person to report the abuse, neglect, or substandard care to an elder abuse helpline or long-term care ombudsman, or make the call yourself.