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Recognizing the Signs Elder Abuse

Recognizing the Signs Elder Abuse

Thanks in part to advances in medical treatment, people in America live longer today than they did just a decade ago. Research shows that by the year 2030 nearly 72.1 million people will be 65 years old or older. As the American population grows older, families may face various challenges associated with providing care for their senior members. Elder abuse is among the concerns.

Elders can suffer abuse at their home or in a care facility. People who abuse seniors can be caretakers, family members or strangers. Many incidents of abuse go unrecognized and therefore, unreported. Ohio law provides that elder abuse includes infliction on an adult “injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or cruel punishment with resulting physical harm, pain, or mental anguish.”

Identifying Types of Elder Abuse

  • Physical abuse Using force to threaten or cause physical injury to a vulnerable senior. Indicators of physical abuse may include but are not limited to bruises, fractures, burns and abrasions.
  • Psychological abuse – Using verbal attacks or threats against an elder. It may also including rejecting, isolating, or belittling an elder which causes or could cause pain, mental anguish or distress. Some indicators may include depression, confusion and anxiousness.
  • Sexual abuse – Forcing, threatening or coercing sexual contact upon an elder. The onset of a sexually transmitted disease or itching or bleeding in the genital area could be indicators of sexual abuse.
  • Exploitation – Misusing or neglecting authority or using undue influence to gain control over a senior person’s property or money. It can also include theft or fraud.
  • Neglect – The failure or refusal of a person charged with caregiving responsibilities to provide for the physical or emotional needs of an elder. Indicators of neglect may include but are not limited to malnutrition, bed sores and over or under medication.
  • Self-neglect – An inability to understand the consequences of one’s own actions or inaction, which leads to, or may lead to, harm or endangerment.

Families should be aware that self-neglect does not include situations in where seniors understand the consequences of their decisions and consciously decide to engage in acts that threaten their health or safety. You can take steps to prevent elder abuse. Contact the qualified Elder law attorneys to learn more.

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