Elderly abuse is not uncommon. Recognize the signs and intervene to help.
Elderly abuse is a social evil, which unfortunately is very rampant in the society. The abuse that the elderly are put through ranges from emotional and physical abuse to sexual exploitation. Such exploitation can leave the elderly in a very traumatic state. It is important to recognize signs of such abuse and do your bit in preventing it.
The first step however, is to understand the different ways in which the elderly and aged are abused in our society.
Types of elderly abuse
On a broad basis, elderly abuse can be categorized into the following six types:
Elderly Abuse Trivia
In the United States, nearly 5 million elderly suffer some form of abuse on a yearly basis.
In nearly 90% of cases, abuse is caused by family members.
Financial exploitation: Financial exploitation is the kind of abuse when family members or others abuse or exploit the elderly for want of financial gains. This can involve exploiting the savings, assets, funds and properties without the consent of the elderly. This is done either through forged documents, forcing or confounding elderly to sign documents, stealing from the elderly and misusing power of attorney vested by the elderly.
Neglect: Neglect refers to failing to look after the needs of the elderly. This includes neglecting medical needs, failing to provide basic amenities such as food, shelter and clothing and not providing basic security.
Emotional abuse: Emotional abuse includes any act that causes psychological distress to the elderly. This can include causing pain, distress, anguish or posing untoward restrictions to the elderly due to something that amounts to harassment, humiliation, making a scapegoat, isolation and menacing through non verbal and verbal actions. Emotional abuse is the most common kind of abuse.
Physical abuse: Physical abuse amounts to causing bodily injury by actions such as beating, pushing, shoving, slapping, physical punishment or any other such aggressive actions. In addition to activities that cause external bodily harm, other activities that amount to physical abuse are force-feeding drugs and foods that can cause harm to the body.
Abandonment: Abandonment is the kind of abuse that refers to completely ignoring or deserting by whoever is responsible for taking care of the elderly.
Sexual abuse: Sexual abuse can be counted as a part of physical abuse. This includes any kind of forceful sexual activity involving the elderly, either in the form of showing pornographic films or actually indulging in sexual acts such as molestation and rape.
Signs of elderly abuse
It is usually easy to recognize signs of abuse. The elderly person looks desolate, depressed and depicts sudden behavioral changes. Signs of physical abuse can be seen on the body. Another very common sign is sudden change in behavior or fear in the presence of the abuser.
In order to see if the elderly is undergoing financial abuse, you can check the presence or absence of jewelry on the body and funds, property document and other assets. Abuse is also evident in the form of sudden weight loss, unsanitary living conditions, improbable financial transactions and unsuitable clothing.
Elderly abuse is a very serious problem. So, recognize signs and see to it that the abuse is stopped.