Elder abuse is a prevalent problem in the United States. Many victims of abuse fail to report incidents because of a fear of retaliation from their abusers. Elderly victims in particular may also be unable to communicate information about abuse because of physical or mental disabilities.
Skilled attorneys can help victims collect compensation for medical bills and other expenses related to both nursing home negligence and elder abuse. However, someone must be able to recognize the signs and types of elder abuse, and contact the authorities. Elderly individuals in particular can suffer abuse that can be classified into several different categories. While not all may be immediately apparent, they are all serious, and should be dealt with immediately.
The Six Types of Elder Abuse
There are six types of elder abuse that can be perpetrated against elderly people. Many people are the victims of multiple types of abuse. Some types of abuse are not intended to cause harm to an elderly person, but any willful act that leads to physical or emotional harm can be considered to be abuse. There are both federal and state laws that are meant to protect the elderly from abuse.
Physical Abuse occurs when the abuser physically injures a victim. This type of abuse can also occur if the intent to physically harm an elderly person is present. Intentionally withholding food, water or medication falls under this category. Assault such as punching, slapping or burning an elderly person is physical abuse. Physical punishment or forcing a person to stay in one place with restraints could occur. Signs of physical abuse include unexplained welts, bruises, broken bones or burn marks.
Emotional abuse causes emotional or psychological distress to a victim. Using abusive language against a victim or belittling an elderly person constitutes emotional abuse. Intentionally ignoring or isolating a victim from friends or family members in order to punish the elderly person is abusive. Emotional abuse is the second most common type of elder abuse. Over one-third of all cases of elder abuse fall under this category. Victims may withdrawal from family and friends when they are being emotionally abused. However, it is often difficult for other people to detect emotional abuse without actually witnessing an incident.
Sexual abuse can be physical or emotional in nature. Direct sexual contact that is unwanted is sexual abuse, but this type of abuse can also occur if an elderly person is forced to view pornographic material or undress in front of an abuser.
Exploitation leads to financial losses for the victim. A caretaker or other person may steal personal information in order to gain access to a victim’s bank account. Identity theft is a prevalent problem for elderly people. Signs of this type of exploitation include unexplained withdrawals, unpaid bills and missing personal belongings. Millions of elderly people become the victims of financial exploitation each year.
Neglect is not always intended to result in physical or emotional harm. However, intentional acts that lead to neglect may result in serious harm to the victim. For example, an elderly person who is not given an important medication because a caretaker is busy completing other tasks may become seriously ill. Victims of neglect may live in unsanitary conditions and wear clothing that is inappropriate for the current weather conditions. Nearly half of all victims of elder abuse victims are neglected.
Abandonment occurs when a person who is responsible for caring for an elderly person completely abandons them. People who have custody of an elderly person who suffers from a mental or physical disability are guilty of abuse if they leave the elderly person without another caretaker.
While it can be difficult to detect signs of elder abuse, many victims of abuse act fearful or tense around their abuser. Any suspicion of abuse should be promptly reported to the local authorities. A professional investigator has the tools necessary to determine whether an elderly person is the victim of abuse. Reporters of information related to elder abuse do not have to disclose personal information.
Getting Help With Elder Abuse
Elder abuse law can involve one or more types of abuse. Victims of this type of abuse often feel embarrassed or scared about reporting incidents. Even if a victim or their family members successfully report abuse, reporting elder abuse does not automatically allow the victim to collect compensation. Our legal team is trained to provide compassionate representation to elder abuse victims. We have a track record for helping our clients fight for the compensation that they need and deserve. Schedule a consultation with us to get started.