Types of Elder Abuse

elder abuse types

Seven Types of Elder Abuse, Neglect, and/or Exploitation:

  • Self-Neglect / Self-Abuse — If an elder is knowingly, or unknowingly, incapable of caring for their own health, safety, welfare or care, they may be considered self-neglecting or self-abusing. Common needs elders may deny themselves include food, water, personal hygiene, adequate clothing, proper shelter, personal safety, medical care, and asset protection. Self-neglect may also occur if an elder does not obtain the goods or services necessary to maintain physical, emotional or general safety. A self-neglecting elder may also show signs of not being able to manage their own financial affairs properly.
  • Neglect — Neglect is the refusal, or failure to fulfill duties or obligations to care, dignity or essential needs. A person with fiduciary responsibility to provide care; a facility which is contracted to provide elder care; a home care service which is hired to provide services; a caregiver which is hired to care for a senior; or a child or spouse of the elder who has taken implied care of the elder are required to provide for the health, safety, welfare and care of the elder. Neglect is the result of refusal or failure of an individual which has implied or agreed-upon responsibility to provide a dependent elder with such life necessities as food, water, clothing, shelter, personal hygiene, medicine, comfort, dignity, personal safety, walkers, canes, artificial limbs, eyeglasses or contacts, hearing aids or other essential items implied or agreed-upon.
  • Financial or Material Exploitation — The misuse, improper or illegal use of an elder’s resources, assets, property or funds for personal or monetary gain is considered exploitation. Exploitation may include the changing of an elder’s will without their consent; unapproved withdrawal or transfer of the elder’s finances; forgery; improper use of conservatorship, guardianship, or power of attorney; improper cashing of elder’s checks, Social Security, or Supplemental Security Income checks; stealing or taking property, possessions or money; coercing or deceiving an elder into signing any documents; and/or transferring or modifying home ownership without the elder’s approval. Elders have a right to protective services; to participate in all decisions about their welfare; the choice of least restrictive alternatives; refusal of medical treatment; and withdrawal from protective services.
  • Emotional / Psychological — Emotional and psychological abuse causes anguish, pain, and/or distress through verbal and non-verbal acts. These acts include, verbal and non-verbal assaults, insults, threats, acts of intimidation, harassment, and/or humiliation. Other forms of emotional and/or psychological abuse include treating an adult like a child; isolating the senior from others including family, friends, governmental representatives, peers, or regular activities; and, purposively not communicating with the senior, commonly called “silent treatment.”
  • Physical Abuse — Physical abuse which results in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment. Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, beating, hitting, striking, pushing, shoving, shaking, slapping, kicking, pinching, and burning. Chemical and physical restraints, force-feeding, and physical punishment are considered forms of physical abuse.
  • Sexual Abuse — Abuse which is non-consensual, sexual contact of any kind with a senior, disabled elder or any other individual incapable of providing consent is considered sexual abuse. Types of sexual abuse include sexual assault, sexual battery, rape, sodomy, coerced nudity, sexually explicit photographing, and unwanted rubbing or touching.
  • Abandonment / Other — Abandonment is the intentional desertion of a dependent elder by leaving them unattended for such a period of time which may be deemed a threat to their health, proper care or safety.
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