Types of Abuse in Elderly

female-nursing-home-resident-suffering-elder-abuseAbuse is a devastating reality for many elderly individuals. It can take many forms, from sexual abuse to physical and emotional abuse and neglect.

It's essential to identify the different types of elder abuse to take action and protect an older adult from further harm. Sexual abuse can take various forms, from unwanted touching and kissing to rape or sodomy.

Are you concerned about an elderly loved one being abused? Contact the nursing home abuse attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center for legal help. Our experienced attorneys will help you build a strong case and seek justice for the abuse you have suffered.

Call toll-free today at (800) 926-7565 for a free case review to determine your legal rights.

When Victims Fear Reprisals

As our population ages, the potential for elder abuse increases. Though it can take many forms, elder abuse is generally defined as any action or inaction that results in harm to an older person.

Unfortunately, this type of abuse often goes unreported due to the victims' fear of retaliation or the victim is not aware they are being abused.

Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes

Elder abuse could be physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse. It is the failure to treat the individual with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Poor personal cleanliness, inadequate nutrition or hydration, untreated health problems, and withdrawal from social activities are signs that an older adult might be victim of abuse.

Older women are more vulnerable to elder abuse than men.

Nursing Home Abuse

In the United States, one in every ten people over 60 is a victim of abuse, and nursing home abuse is a significant problem.

The National Center on Elder Abuse defines nursing home abuse as "a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person."

Nursing home residents suffering from psychological abuse can be at a higher risk for developing physical health problems, such as heart disease, respiratory illness, and gastrointestinal issues, than those who do not experience emotional abuse.

Elder Neglect in a Nursing Home

When older people can no longer care for themselves, they may need to go into a nursing home or will require at-home assistance for their basic needs. Nursing homes are places where people can receive around-the-clock care. However, sometimes residents in nursing homes are neglected by the staff.

Elder Self-Neglect

Elder self-neglect happens when older adult neglects themselves, often by refusing to eat, bathe, or take care of their personal hygiene. Elder self-neglect can be very dangerous, as it can lead to health problems and even death.

Risk factors for elder self-neglect include: A serious or chronic illness, having a mental health condition, living in isolation, few social supports, and having a history of self-neglect

Elder Abuse Statistics

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), approximately 1 in 10 older adults in the United States experience elder abuse each year, equating to more than 5 million victims annually. However, this number is estimated to be only a fraction of the abuse cases, as most go unreported.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that one in three people over 65 will experience elder abuse, including unwanted sexual contact and physical and emotional abuse.

Causes of Elder Abuse in Nursing Home Facilities

There are many causes of forms of elder abuse in elderly persons. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Feeling overwhelmed and helpless: Many caregivers feel like they are constantly struggling and do not have enough time to provide the medical care their elderly loved one needs leading to feelings of anger, frustration, and helplessness.
  • Financial difficulties: Caregivers who struggle to make ends meet may feel that they can no longer afford to care for their elderly loved ones, resulting in resentment and frustration.
  • Mental health issues: Caregivers dealing with depression and mental health problems may be more likely to abuse their elderly loved ones.
  • Substance abuse: Caregivers who are abusing drugs or alcohol may be more likely to abuse their elderly loved ones
  • Poor communication: If caregivers and elderly loved ones do not have an open dialogue about the medical care that is being provided, it can lead to misunderstandings and resentment.
Types of Elder Abuse Facing Nursing Home Residents

Different types of elder abuse that can be inflicted on an older adult: physical elder abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, unwanted sexual contact, and elder financial abuse are some of the most common.

Physical Abuse in Nursing Homes

Physical elder abuse is force against an older person that results in bodily harm. It can take many forms, from slapping or shoving to punching, kicking, or even using a weapon.

Elderly abused persons are more likely to suffer from serious health problems, including injuries, infections, and death. They may also be more likely to require hospitalization.

Psychological or Emotional Abuse

One common type of elder abuse in the elderly population is psychological or emotional elder abuse involving things like verbal assaults, humiliation, or intimidation. Often, the abuser will be a family member or caregiver of the older person.

Emotional elder abuse can have several negative consequences for the older person, including decreased self-esteem, depression, and even suicide.

Elder Sexual Abuse in a Nursing Home or an Assisted Living Facility

Sexual abuse in advanced age is a severe problem that often goes unreported. It’s a type of elder abuse that can include unwanted sexual interaction or sexual contact, rape, or sexual assault.

Elderly adults may be afraid to report elder abuse to a family member or local adult protective services even when in immediate danger because they feel they won't be believed. In addition, they may not know who to turn to for professional medical advice.

One of the most important things we can do to prevent sexual abuse in nursing homes is to be vigilant and speak up if we see or suspect anything wrong.

We can do a few key things to help protect ourselves and others from abuse in nursing homes. We should always be aware of our surroundings and who is around us, especially when we're alone with someone we don't know well.

Elder Financial Abuse in Nursing Homes

Financial exploitation is the most common elder abuse suffered by older people.' It involves forcing an elderly person to hand over money or possessions or using their money or possessions without permission. Almost two-thirds of victims report this form of abuse.

Financial abuse can be a challenge to identify. However, some common signs may indicate that financial abuse is happening in a nursing home.

Some common signs of elder abuse involving financial abuse include:

  • Unexplained changes in a bank account or financial status
  • Nursing facility residents are being pressured to sign over property or assets
  • Residents being denied access to their personal funds or accounts
  • The sudden appearance of a new "family member" who may be trying to gain control over the resident's finances.
Warning Signs of Elder Abuse

It can be challenging to identify elder abuse, as the signs may not be obvious. However, some warning signs may suggest that an older adult is being abused.

Some of the most common warning signs of elder abuse include:

  • Unexplained physical abuse injuries such as bruises or cuts
  • Changes in behavior, such as becoming withdrawn or depressed
  • Sudden changes in a financial situation that points to elder financial abuse
  • Missing personal belongings or money
  • New friends or acquaintances who seem to have a lot of control over the elder
  • The elder is kept isolated from friends and family
  • Deterioration in personal hygiene
Some Results of Nursing Home Abuse

Some injuries deriving from forms of elder abuse include:

How to Prevent Elder Neglect and Abuse in Nursing Home Facilities

There are many ways to prevent elderly abuse, and it is vital to be proactive to protect your loved ones.

Some steps you can take to help prevent nursing home abuse include:

  • Keeping a close eye on your elderly loved ones and knowing their daily routine can help you notice if something changes or is out of the ordinary
  • Establishing open communication with your elderly loved ones will help them feel comfortable telling you if they are experiencing any abuse.
  • Creating a support system for your elderly loved ones can include family, friends, or even a caretaker.
  • Familiarizing yourself with the signs and symptoms of elder abuse to better identified potential issues

It's crucial to report elder abuse to the nearest local adult protective services agency if you see it happening.

How to Prevent Financial Elder Abuse

To prevent financial elder abuse, families and friends of elderly loved ones should be aware of the warning signs, including changes in bank account activity, suddenly being unable to afford basic needs, or being coerced or manipulated into signing documents.

Financial elder exploitation can be perpetrated by anyone, including friends, caretakers, financial advisors, or family members.

National Center on Elder Abuse

The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) is a resource of information and technical assistance on elder abuse.

NCEA was established in 1990 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as the first national center in the United States focused exclusively on nursing home elder abuse.

The mission of NCEA is to promote the well-being and protect the rights of older adults through information and education, policy development, and service delivery.

The National Council on Aging

The National Council on Aging, also known as NCOA, is a nonprofit organization that helps older adults live independently.

They provide information and resources on various topics related to aging, including health, finances, and legal issues. The National Council on Aging also advocates for policies that improve the lives of older adults.

Victims or Family Members Can File Elderly Abuse Lawsuits

If you're a victim of elderly abuse or a loved one has been abused, you may consider filing a lawsuit. Elderly abuse lawsuits can be filed by the victim, the victim's family, or the victim's estate.

There are a few things to keep in mind when filing an elderly abuse lawsuit:

  • First, the statute of limitations may apply, which is the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit after elder abuse occurs.
  • Second, you will need to prove that the abuser caused harm by providing evidence of the nursing home abuse, such as photographs, medical records, or witness testimony.
  • Third, you may recover compensatory damages intended to compensate you for the harm, including money for medical bills, physical pain and suffering, and emotional distress.

You may also recover punitive damages intended to punish the abuser in some cases.

Examples of Average Settlement Amounts in Elderly Abuse

While it is impossible to know the exact settlement amount in any given elder abuse case, there are several examples of average settlements in such cases. In one case, a nursing home resident was raped by another resident. The victim's family reached a $750,000 settlement with the nursing home.

In another case, an older woman was neglected by her home health aide, which led to her death. The family reached a $1.5 million settlement with the aide's employer.

Given the serious and often life-altering injuries resulting from elder abuse, it is not surprising that the average settlement amount tends to be relatively high.

Hiring a Nursing Home Elder Neglect Lawyer to Resolve an Elder Abuse Case

Elder abuse is a serious issue, but with the help of an experienced lawyer, you can get the justice and closure you deserve.

Were you or someone you know a victim of elder abuse? Our dedicated lawyers will work tirelessly to ensure that your voice is heard and those responsible for this crime are brought to justice. Contact us toll-free at (800) 926-7565 for a free legal case review.

Our nursing home abuse lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis, so you don't have to pay us unless we win your case.


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