Elder Abuse: What is it and How does it Happen?

Elder abuse can be defined as mental or physical abuse inflicted on an elderly person by someone they trust and depend on to provide them with the basic necessities of life, including companionship, transportation, food, and personal care.  

Who Can be an Abuser of the Elderly?

The abuser can be a friend or family member in a home setting or a staff member at a retirement home.  Elder abuse can be in the form of sexual abuse, neglect, financial abuse, or mental abuse.  In many cases, it is a combination of all of these abuses.

How are Elders Being Abused?

Sexual abuse is any unwanted sexual activity or sexual assault.  Neglect is the failure to provide food or health services for a dependent elder.  Financial abuse can include stealing money or pension cheques, committing forgery, fraud, or extortion, misusing a power of attorney, or forcing an elderly person to sell their property or other assets. Mental abuse can include threatening, coercing, embarrassing, humiliating, frightening, or insulting an elderly person, hiding their eyeglasses, dentures, or hearing aids, or treating them like a child.  All of these forms of abuse are considered crimes and should be reported.

The Signs of Elder Abuse

The signs and symptoms of elder abuse may include depression, anxiety, poor hygiene, dehydration, weight loss, and over sedation.  The abuser may not allow visitors and socially isolate the elder, even from family members, often destroying family relationships in the process.  

Abusers often have drug or alcohol problems, antisocial behaviour, or mental problems.  The abuse takes place because the abuser has control or power over the victim, often because the abuser is the primary caregiver and threatens to leave the victim alone.

It sickens me to know that there are people out there that prey on the elderly.  In researching the subject, I have learned that for every case of elder abuse that is discovered and reported, there are thousands of others that are slipping through the cracks.  

Be Alert! Do not let this happen to someone you care about!

13 thoughts on “Elder Abuse: What is it and How does it Happen?

  1. Abuse in all forms and regarding all ages is rampant in our society. Thank you for educating your readers about elder abuse. Education and empathy is the key to ending all types of abuse.

  2. I’m very sorry to hear that this is happening in your family. My mom was neglected at her prior nursing home and I eventually had to contact the ombudsman’s office. Glad we got her out of there and into a much better facility last September.

  3. Reblogged this on worldpoet546 and commented:
    I know this dirty, rotten game
    as my own name!
    Petra Hermans – Worldpoet 546, The Netherlands
    protecting all the children on our home planet, always! © 2015

  4. Hi Lorie, I saw your post on Cristian Mihai’s and came over to say hello!
    I worked for a company that wrote training courseware for law enforcement, and one of the lessons we did was on elder abuse. I had to transcribe stories taken from victims, and also look at photographs. It was deeply, deeply upsetting and I am sorry to hear that your family is going through this.
    I hope that you are able to rescue your family member from the situation and get them to safety. And that it happens as painlessly as possible.

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