7 Types of Elder Abuse (and How to Spot Them)

types of elder abuse

Humans are strong creatures. And we often try to hide our distress from other people.

This is why, as a caretaker or relative, it’s important to know how to look past the brave face an elderly person might wear and see the signs of abuse.

And elder abuse might not be as self-evident as you might think. There are several types of elder abuse and by the end of this article you will be able to distinguish between each.

7 Types of Elder Abuse: Financial Exploitation

According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, there are several things people need before they can achieve self-actualization. One of the most basic of these needs is security.

Security means different things to different people. But for most people, being secure in your finances is a major piece of the security puzzle.

Signs of Financial Exploitation:

  • Significant withdrawals from a bank account or investment
  • Missing items or cash
  • Suspicious changes in a will and testament
  • Suspicious changes in policies and power of attorney
  • Unpaid medical bills
  • Strange activity the person might not do like withdraw from an ATM when the person is bedridden or confined to a facility.

2. Neglect

Among the types of elder abuse, this is probably the most common. Neglect is pretty widely defined. But there are some pretty obvious signs of neglect if you are careful to observe.

And don’t rule out family members as a perpetrator. 60% of abusers are closely related to the individual being abused.

Signs of Neglect:

  • Unusual weight loss
  • Dehydration (dark or cloudy urine)
  • Unclean living conditions
  • Unusually odorous body smells
  • Not dressed in clothing suitable to the weather (shorts in winter, heavy coats in summer)
  • Unsafe living conditions such as fire hazards, leaking pipes, lack of A/C

3. Healthcare Fraud

Some states may actually tie this in with financial exploitation. But healthcare fraud could actually happen to any person. But it’s about the types of elder abuse because someone in the medical field might take advantage.

Signs of Healthcare Fraud:

  • Duplicated billing for the same procedure or service
  • Under-filled medication
  • Over-filled medication or wrong prescription doses
  • Inadequate care by hospital or clinic staff or doctor
  • Clinic or staff refusal to answer questions about care

4. Sexual Abuse

Of the types of elder neglect, this is the most egregious. It’s also one of the hardest to identify.

Because vulnerable adults are typically weaker, they’re easier to overpower. People with mal intent could take advantage of this situation

Signs of Sexual Abuse:

  • Bruising around the breast and genital areas
  • Vaginal or rectal bleeding
  • Venereal disease
  • Depression
  • Difficulty standing or walking

5. Emotional Abuse

This includes verbal abuse and other kinds of emotional damage.

Signs of Emotional Abuse:

  • Someone yelling at the person or putting them down
  • Harsh language or teasing
  • Fear exhibited toward a caretaker
  • Rocking or biting in response to someone’s presence

Be on the lookout for forced isolation or controlling behavior as well.

6. Self-Neglect

Some states do not define this as abuse or neglect. But it’s a real problem.

If a person lives alone and they aren’t caring for themselves take action. They may need a care facility or a part-time caretaker.

7. Physical Abuse

Physical abuse can either be obvious or subtle.

Signs of physical abuse:

  • Bruises, broken bones, abrasions, burns
  • Excuses for odd injuries that don’t match up
  • Fear of caretaker by individual

Look Out

As a caretaker or a close relative, it’s highly important that if you see something you say something.

Don’t let anyone abuse or neglect your loved one.

If you are looking for more advice on elderly care, contact me to find out how you can bring balance to your life care for an elderly person.

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