Study Reveals Elder Abuse Disproportionately Affects ‘Youngest Old’
No one truly understands what triggers a person to abuse an elder. Unfortunately, a recent study by Cornell University and University of Toronto found the most abused elders tend to be much younger than previously believed. Specifically, the “youngest old,” which refers to those between the ages of 60 and 74, tend to experience the most severe forms of abuse. This newfound information implies that more people, including elder abuse attorneys, need to better understand elder abuse, its forms, and how to recognize it.
Defining Elder Abuse
Elder abuse refers to all circumstances in which an elder may be taken advantage of or harmed and in which they are unable to stop the attacks. There are several types of elder abuse, including physical, sexual and emotional abuse, neglect, abandonment, financial exploitation, and self-neglect, asserts the National Center on Elder Abuse.
Signs of Elder Abuse
The signs for abandonment and self-neglect are self-explanatory, but for the remaining forms of elder abuse they are slightly more complicated. Signs for these include the following:
• Physical Abuse – Physical abuse includes any action that is intended to result in physical pain, impairment, or bodily injury. Its signs may include black eyes, bruises, sprains, unauthorized changes in medications, or reports of being abused.
• Sexual Abuse – Signs may include the same as those for physical abuse. However, additional indications of sexual abuse include bruising around the genitals or breasts, unexplained infections of the genitals, vaginal or anal bleeding, or disheveled appearance of underwear.
• Emotional Abuse – This type of abuse can be difficult to detect as no physical injuries may be present. However, its elder victims may exhibit extreme emotional changes, become withdrawn, or exhibit dementia-like behaviors.
• Neglect – This abuse occurs when a caregiver refuses or fails to provide proper care for an elder. Signs may include dehydration, malnutrition, untreated medical problems, and hazardous or unsanitary living conditions.
Elder abuse ranges in severity and type, and family members and friends have a duty to ensure their loved ones have a safe, abuse-free environment in which to live. If you believe your family member or friend has been subjected to any of the aforementioned types of elder abuse, you need to act immediately. The elder abuse attorneys at Garcia, Artigliere & Medby can help you determine if any abuse has occurred and, if so, what can be done to ensure it does not continue. For more information or to speak with an attorney, call our office at 1-800-281-8515, or fill out our online contact form.