The Most Common Types of Elder Abuse & What To Do About Them
The National Center on Elder Abuse recognizes seven different types of elder abuse. You can recognize when your loved one might suffer from abuse if you understand these differences.
Many families are shocked and saddened to discover that their loved one is a victim of elder abuse. Elder abuse can take many forms, from physical violence to financial exploitation, and it can have a devastating effect on the victim. Families may feel angry, helpless, and overwhelmed when they learn of the abuse. It is important to remember that you are not alone and there are ways to get help. Elder abuse is a serious problem. By being aware of the signs of abuse and taking action to stop it, you can help keep your loved one safe.
At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, our Arkansas elder abuse lawyers fight tirelessly for victims of elder abuse and their families. We know how difficult elder abuse is to prove. That’s why we work quickly to gather the evidence needed to win your case.
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Physical Elder Abuse
Physical elder abuse is often under-reported and under-recognized. Physical elder abuse can take many forms, including hitting, shoving, kicking, biting, burning, or otherwise causing physical harm to an older adult. It can also involve withholding food or water or forcing an older adult to participate in activities against their will.
Physical elder abuse can have severe consequences for victims, including bodily injuries, emotional trauma, and even death.
Several warning signs may indicate that someone is a victim of physical elder abuse. These include:
- Bruises, cuts, or welts
- Broken bones
- Bed sores
- Anxiety and depression
- Withdrawn behavior
- Delayed medical care for an injury
- Poor explanation of how the injury occurred
- Pattern of hospitalizations
If you notice any of these injuries, ask your loved one how it happened. Be aware your loved one may be reluctant to talk about what is happening for fear of retaliation from the abuser.
Sexual Elder Abuse
Sexual elder abuse can take many different forms. It can include anything from unwanted sexual touching or advances to forced sex, and it can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, age, or physical ability. It can occur in any relationship between family members, friends, caregivers, or strangers.
Elder sexual abuse is a serious problem with potentially devastating consequences. Victims of sexual elder abuse may suffer from physical injuries, emotional trauma, and sexually transmitted diseases.
If you suspect someone you know is a victim of sexual elder abuse, it is crucial to get help immediately.
Warning signs of sexual elder abuse may include:
- Unexplained bruises or injuries in the genital or anal area
- Unexplained STDs or sexually transmitted infections
- Sudden changes in behavior, such as becoming withdrawn or agitated
- Difficulty sitting or walking comfortably
- Fearfulness around certain people or places
Elder neglect is a serious problem that can devastate the health and well-being of older adults. Unfortunately, it is often under-reported and misunderstood.
Elder neglect can take many forms, but generally, it refers to the failure of a caregiver to provide the necessary care for an older adult. This can include failing to provide adequate food or shelter, not providing proper medical care, or not providing enough social or emotional support.
Elder neglect can often lead to serious health problems for the victim, including malnutrition, dehydration, bedsores, and even death. It can also lead to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
If you suspect a caregiver neglected an older adult, please get in touch with a professional for help. Elder neglect can have serious consequences, so get help as soon as possible.
Many warning signs may indicate that an older adult suffers from neglect. If you notice any of the following, reach out for help:
- The older adult appears dirty or unkempt
- They are not taking their medications as prescribed
- They seem confused or disoriented
- They have unexplained bruises or injuries
- They are excessively tired or lethargic
- They are not eating or drinking enough
- Their living conditions are unsanitary or unsafe
Elder self-neglect occurs when an older adult fails to meet their basic needs, such as food, shelter, clothing, or personal hygiene. Self-neglect can also refer to an elder’s refusal or failure to seek medical care for serious health conditions.
Elder self-neglect is often a sign of underlying physical or mental health problems and can have significant health consequences if not addressed. Older self-neglecting adults might suffer from malnutrition, dehydration, falls, and accidents.
One of the most important things to remember regarding elder self-neglect is that it can often be tricky to spot. Many older adults can maintain a high level of independence and may not want to burden their loved ones with their problems.
Some warning signs may indicate that an older adult is suffering from self-neglect. These include:
- Loss of interest in personal appearance or hygiene
- Unkempt hair or clothing
- Body odor
- Poorly healing wounds or injuries
- Untreated medical conditions
Elder abandonment is a terrible problem affecting thousands of elderly Americans yearly. Unfortunately, it is often not recognized until it is too late. Elder abandonment can happen to anyone, but it is most common among the elderly who cannot care for themselves.
Elder abandonment usually occurs when a caregiver suddenly leaves an older adult without notice or explanation. Abandonment can leave the senior feeling confused, scared, and alone. Sometimes, the caregiver may take their money or possessions before leaving.
If you suspect a caregiver abandoned an elderly person, it is vital to act quickly. Contact your local police department or social services agency to get help for the abandoned.
Several warning signs may indicate that an elderly person has suffered abandonment. These include:
- Isolated from family, friends, and other support systems.
- The home is in poor condition and lacks basic necessities.
- They appear neglected, with unkempt hair, clothing, and dirty skin.
- They exhibit signs of malnutrition or dehydration.
- They display sudden changes in behavior, such as becoming withdrawn or agitated.
Emotional Elder Abuse
Emotional elder abuse is a type of mistreatment that can occur in relationships with an imbalance of power. It can involve belittling, threatening, or controlling behavior and any action that causes mental or emotional anguish.
While emotional abuse can happen to anyone, it is prevalent among older adults. This may be because older adults are more likely to live alone, have chronic health problems, and rely on others for care. Emotional elder abuse can have a devastating impact on a person’s health and well-being. It can cause depression, anxiety, and insomnia and lead to suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
One of the most challenging things about emotional abuse is that it can be tough to spot. Unlike physical abuse, there are no apparent signs or bruises. Emotional abuse can be just as damaging and profoundly affect an older person’s mental and emotional health.
There are many reasons why elders may not speak up about emotional abuse. First, they may feel embarrassed or ashamed to admit the abuse. Second, they may not want to cause any trouble or make waves. Third, they may be afraid of retaliation from their abuser. And finally, they may not realize that abuse is happening to them.
Here are some warning signs that your loved one suffers from emotional elder abuse:
- Isolation from family, friends, and the outside world
- Unusual changes in mood or behavior
- Sudden weight loss or gain
- Sleep problems or changes in sleeping patterns
- Loss of interest in activities that used to bring joy
- Withdrawal from social interaction
- Frequent outbursts of anger, frustration, or agitation
- Disorientation or confusion
- Slurred speech or other changes in communication abilities
Decreased personal hygiene
Financial Elder Abuse
Financial elder abuse can take many forms but typically involves someone taking advantage of an older adult’s finances without their knowledge or consent. This form of elder abuse can include anything from stealing money or property to using an older person’s credit card without permission.
Elder financial abuse is a growing problem in the United States. According to a recent study, as many as 5 million Americans over 65 have been victims of financial elder abuse. And this number is only expected to grow as the population ages.
There are many reasons why financial elder abuse goes unnoticed. For one, older adults may be reluctant to report it for fear of losing their independence or being seen as incompetent. Additionally, abusers are often family members or other trusted individuals, making it difficult to believe they would do anything to harm the person they love.
If you see any warning signs, you must take action. Talk to your loved one and find out what is going on with their finances. If they suffer from financial elder abuse, they may feel too scared or embarrassed to talk about it, but getting them help is essential.
Several warning signs may indicate that an older person is a victim of financial abuse. These include:
- Sudden changes in bank account or credit card activity, including large withdrawals or transfers that the older person cannot explain
- Missing money or valuables from home
- Unpaid bills even though there is enough money to cover them
- The older person is reluctant to talk about their finances or seems confused about their financial situation
- Changes in the older person’s will or other financial documents
- A new “friend” or caregiver who suddenly becomes involved in the older person’s finances
- The sudden appearance of expensive gifts or purchases that the older person cannot explain
- The older person is being evicted from their home or is facing foreclosure on their property
If you suspect abuse or neglect call us today!
How to Prevent Elder Abuse
Elder abuse can have devastating consequences for the victim and their families. Luckily, there are things that loved ones can do to help prevent this type of abuse from occurring.
Keep lines of communication open. Make sure to check in regularly with your elderly loved one and encourage them to share any concerns openly.
Be aware of changes in their health or appearance. If you notice any sudden or unexplained changes, ask about them and offer assistance if needed.
Help them stay connected to their support network. Isolation can be a significant risk factor for elder abuse, so ensuring that your loved one remains connected to friends and family is critical.
Know who to contact if you suspect abuse. If you have any reason to believe that your loved one has suffered abuse, don’t hesitate to contact the authorities or an elder abuse hotline for help.
What to Do If You Suspect Elder Abuse
When you suspect that your loved one is a victim of elder abuse, you may not know what to do next.
First, try to talk to the person and get as much information as possible. If the person is reluctant to speak, try asking questions in a non-judgmental way and offer to help in any way you can.
If the person confirms the abuse or if you have serious concerns, the next step is to contact adult protective services in your area. Adult Protective Services (APS) investigates suspicions of elder abuse, exploitation, neglect, or sexual abuse. You can call the Adult Maltreatment Hotline in Arkansas at 1-800-482-8049.
Additionally, national hotlines can provide information and support, such as the National Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-222-1222.
When you contact adult protective services, give as much information as possible about the situation. You might need the name and contact information of the person you suspect is being abused, as well as any witnesses or other people who might be able to help with the investigation.
It’s also important to remember that elder abuse is often a crime, so you may also want to contact law enforcement. However, it’s important to note that not all elder abuse cases will result in criminal charges. You should still contact adult protective services even if you don’t plan on involving law enforcement.
If you suspect elder abuse, don’t hesitate to take action. These steps can help ensure that the person gets the help they need and that their abusers are brought to justice.
Elder Abuse FAQs
Elder Abuse FAQs
You may have many questions if you think your loved one is a victim of elder abuse. You may wonder what signs to look for, how to get help, and what will happen next. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about elder abuse.
There are seven types of elder abuse. These types include:
- Physical abuse This abuse occurs when someone causes physical pain or injury to an older person. Physical elder abuse can include hitting, shoving, pulling hair, and giving unwanted medical treatment.
- Sexual abuse Sexual abuse of an elder is when someone forces an older person to participate in a sexual act. It can include rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment.
- Emotional abuse Caregivers can inflict emotional abuse when they say hurtful things or threaten an older person. Emotional abuse can include name-calling, yelling, and making threats.
- Financial exploitation This elder abuse occurs when someone takes money from an older person without permission. Financial exploitation can include stealing money, using ATM cards without permission, and forgery.
- Neglect This type of abuse involves improperly caring for an older person. It can include not giving enough food or water, not providing proper medical care, and not providing a safe place to live.
- Abandonment Caregivers who leave an older person alone without any way to care for themselves may be guilty of abandonment. It can include leaving them in a hospital or nursing home without consent or leaving them at home without transportation or resources.
- Self-neglect This abuse occurs when an older person does not care for their basic needs. It can include not taking medications, not eating correctly, and hoarding garbage.
Generally speaking, elderly abuse is any form of maltreatment resulting in harm or suffering to an older person. It can include physical, emotional, sexual, financial, or psychological abuse and neglect.
If you suspect elder abuse, seek help immediately. Many organizations and agencies can provide support and assistance. In addition, reporting the abuse to the authorities can help protect the victim and ensure that the abuser is held accountable for their actions.
The most common form of elder abuse is financial exploitation. Financial exploitation refers to fraud or scams that target seniors and try to get them to part with their money. There are many different types of financial scams out there, so it’s essential for seniors to know the risks and how to protect themselves. If you suspect financial elder abuse, please immediately contact your local law enforcement or adult protective services agency and an experienced Arkansas elder abuse attorney.
Various factors can make all forms of elder abuse challenging to identify. For example, many elders may be reluctant to speak out about abuse for fear of retaliation or further harm. Additionally, some types of elder abuse, such as financial exploitation, can be very subtle and easily go unnoticed.
Certain types of elder abuse are more difficult to detect than others. Emotional abuse is particularly challenging to identify. This is because emotional abuse often manifests itself in ways that are not always obvious to outsiders. For instance, an abusive caregiver may isolate their elderly victim from friends and family or make demeaning comments to them in private. Emotional abuse also often occurs alongside other forms of elder abuse, such as financial exploitation or physical abuse.
Neglect is also challenging to detect because neglect often occurs behind closed doors, out of the view of family and friends. Additionally, many elders are reluctant to report neglect for fear of being seen as a burden on their caregivers. Often, elders will only reveal signs of neglect when they are asked directly about it or when they are in a situation where they feel safe enough to speak up.
Contact Our Arkansas Elder Abuse Lawyers
At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, our Arkansas elder abuse lawyers have decades of experience standing up for victims of elder abuse. Our attorneys tirelessly protect elder abuse victims and help them get the justice they deserve. We work with families to safeguard elders from further abuse while holding their abusers and negligent institutions accountable.
With eight offices in Arkansas and Tennessee – Little Rock, Little Rock-Corporate Hill, Springdale, Conway, Hot Springs, Bryant, Jacksonville, and Memphis —our Arkansas and Tennessee elder abuse lawyers are easily accessible when you need us. Contact Rainwater, Holt & Sexton Injury Lawyers today. Fill out a free contact request form or call (800) 434-4800 and tell us your story.
We’re here to help.
Personal Injury Resources
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Types of Elder Abuse
The National Center on Elder Abuse recognizes seven different types of elder abuse. You can recognize when your loved one might suffer from abuse if you understand these differences. Many families are shocked and saddened to discover that their loved one is a victim of elder abuse. Elder abuse can take many forms, from physical violence to financial exploitation, and it can have a devastating effect on the victim. Families may feel angry, helpless, and overwhelmed when they learn of the abuse. It is important to remember that you are not alone and there are ways to get help. Elder abuse is a serious problem. By being aware of the signs of abuse and taking action to stop it, you can help keep your loved one safe. At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, our Arkansas elder abuse lawyers fight tirelessly for victims of elder abuse and their families. We know how difficult elder abuse is to prove. That’s why we work quickly to gather the evidence needed to win your case.
Stage 4 Bedsores in Nursing Homes
Stage 4 bedsores are the most severe bedsores, leading to life-threatening infections in nursing home patients. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, over 60,000 deaths occur annually due to stage 4 bedsores. Unfortunately, these bedsores are often a sign of neglect and abuse in nursing homes. Elderly patients can develop these sores when caregivers do not reposition them often enough - a clear sign of neglect. Even worse, up to 40% of stage 4 bedsores never get reported to Medicare, even though the law requires it. If someone you love develops a stage 4 bedsore while in a nursing home or skilled care facility, you may have cause to file a claim. A nursing home abuse attorney will meet with you and help you and your family explore all your legal options. At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, our Arkansas nursing home abuse lawyers are here to answer your questions and help your family seek justice.
Nursing Home Abuse
Serving all of Arkansas with offices in Little Rock, Springdale, Hot Springs, Conway, Bryant, and Jacksonville. About two million seniors over the age of 65 have been victims of nursing home abuse or neglect in the United States. This abuse can come in many forms, and its effects can be devastating. Even worse, most cases of nursing home abuse are never reported. Only 1 in 14 incidents are ever discovered, meaning that nursing home abuse is more common across the country than we think.
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