6 Types of Elder Abuse in our Society

  • by Nina Plonka RN, BSN, Director of Long Term Care Insurance

The elderly are the most vulnerable people in our society next to children.  When working with the elderly it’s important to ensure that they are given dignity and respect, not only for their life experience but for their wisdom.  It is a fine line to walk when allowing them to maintain their dignity and ensure they are part of the decision making process until such time as they are physically or mentally unable.   According to Adult Protective Services, 90% of the reported abuse is from family members and not hired professionals.

To truly identify or report abuse it’s important to understand the many types of elder abuse in our society. Also be sure to check out our blog on the Warning Signs of Elder Abuse.

Types of Elderly Abuse:

1. Physical

  • 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.

2. Emotional (Verbal)

  • Intimidation through yelling or threats.
  • Humiliation and ridicule.
  • Habitual blaming or scape-goating.

3. Psychological (Non-verbal)

  • Ignoring the elderly person.
  • Isolating an elder from friends or activities.
  • Terrorizing or menacing the elderly person.

4. Neglect

  • Failure to fulfill a caretaking obligation constitutes more than half of all reported cases of elder abuse. It can be active (intentional) or passive (unintentional, based on factors such as ignorance or denial that an elderly charge needs as much care as he or she does).

5. Fraud

  • Misuse of an elder’s personal checks, credit cards, or accounts.
  • Steal cash, income checks, or household goods.
  • Forge the elder’s signature.
  • Engage in identity theft.

6. Scams

  • Announcements of a “prize” that the elderly person has won but must pay money to claim.
  • Phony charities.
  • Investment fraud.

If you are an elderly person being abused, similar to a child you need to tell someone.  You can report any abuse to your doctor, pastor, rabbi, caregiver, or a friend but you need to talk to someone.  If you are an elderly person who sees abuse or neglect, you should tell someone, anyone. You can give your name or remain anonymous with the florida elder abuse hotline.  The key to remember is NO one deserves to be mistreated, neglected or abused.   REPORT IT!  Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873 (TDD 1-800-453-5145).

Posted in: Elderly Care, Family Issues

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