Understanding the Four Categories of Elder Abuse

Nursing Home Blog

Elder abuse comes in four essential forms or categories. Getting the facts about them ahead of time can not only help you identify whether elder abuse is happening to someone you love, but also to prevent it from starting. These are the four categories of elder abuse and some information that will help you recognize them.

1) Physical Abuse
This type of abuse involves the use or threat of force. Physical abuse sometimes results in injuries, impairments or pain. In addition to the use of force, physical abuse may be combined with misuse of drugs, restraints, or forced medical procedures. Corporal punishment is also often used to abuse elderly patients physically.

If physical abuse is suspected, it is critical to document injuries immediately upon becoming aware of them and to have a complete and careful physical exam of the patient in order to identify signs of long-term abuse. This can be difficult though among patients of advanced ages who are commonly victims of innocent accidents, such as slips, falls, skin tears, and broken bones. Also look for and document signs that indicate neglect, such as skin ulcers, weight loss, and unexplained or undocumented injuries.

2) Sexual Abuse
Any form of nonconsensual sexual contact is sexual abuse. This includes exposure, nudity, and similar situations as much as it involves rape.

3) Psychological or Emotional Abuse
Threats. Insults. Humiliation. These are the tools of the psychological abuser. This abuse comes in verbal and nonverbal forms that are designed to control, manipulate, and coerce the elderly person under their care.

In addition to the instances above, emotional abusers will attempt to isolate the patient from people who know and care for them. Common means of doing this are by limiting access to mail, phone calls, computers, the Internet, and transportation.

4) Financial Abuse
While financial abuse is largely considered a new form of elder abuse, it is becoming alarmingly common. Elder financial abuse is believed to be even more prevalent than is being reported, and comes in many forms, such as people posing as charities seeking donations and friends of friends or family members seeking “investment partners” in scams, just to name a few. Another rising scam is to marry an older person in order to gain access to his or her funds.

If you suspect your loved one is the victim of any of these four forms of elder abuse, it’s time to consider finding an elder abuse lawyer. Garcia & Artigliere is here to help you seek justice on behalf of loved ones victimized by abusers. Call today at 1(800)281-8515 to learn more about your legal options.