Neglect of the elderly is commonly called elder abuse, and elder abuse is a big problem in the United States of America. Elder abuse is the abuse and neglect of a person over the age of sixty years or older (Elder abuse: Definitions, n.
d.). Each year there is five hundred thousand adults over the age of sixty are believed to be abused or financially exploited each year (Elder abuse prevention n.d.). As there are multiple forms of abuse, three forms of abuse that will be focused on are physical, psychological, and financial exploitation, covering what the definition of the abuse is, how to recognize, who could perform the abuse, and who could recognize the abuse.
Physical abuse is the harming of an elder or a person over the age of sixty is when he or she is injured, assaulted, or threatened with a weapon, or restrained inappropriately (Elder abuse: Definitions, n.d.). This can occur when a person over the age of sixty is harmed by hands in such a way of being hit, slapped, burned or with a weapon for instance, club, knife, stick, gun or any other object that could be considered as a weapon (Elder abuse: Definitions, n.d.).
One could recognize sings of physical abuse by noticing bruises, burns, cuts and more serious injuries such as broken bones, physical changes, confusion, and over medicated (Center for Advocacy For The Rights and Interests of The Elderly [CARIE], 2008). These types of injuries could be at the hands of family members, nurses, cohabiters, or caregivers.
These actions could be intentional or unintentional. The abuse could be a result of the caregiver being unable to cope with the stress, depressed, lack of help from potential caregivers, the caregiver being over burdened without reward, or substance abuse (Robinson, de Benedictis, & Segal, 2013). The persons that could recognize physical abuse is family members, doctors, nurses, emergency medical services staff, church members, anyone that knows the individual and could recognize changes. Psychological abuse is the threat of injury, unreasonable confinement, punishment and verbal humiliation to include yelling, screaming, and the use of derogatory language towards a person over the age of sixty (CARIE, 2008).
Signs of psychological abuse that can be recognized are, withdrawn, does not want to talk, depressed, confused, lost, and very nervous. As in the case of physical abuse persons that can be performing the abuse range from family members, caregivers, and cohabiters, this abuse could result from the caregiver being over stressed, or purposely done. This act is more than likely a intentional act of abuse due to the fact it is emotionally driven. Psychological abuse could be noticed by persons that come into contact with the abused person such as neighbors, friends, nurses, co-workers, and family members. “Financial abuse or exploitation of the elderly is the unauthorized or improper use of the resources of an elder for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain” (Elder abuse: Definitions, n.d. para. 2). This could be done by deceiving a person sixty years or older, to withdraw money from a bank account, forging checks in their name, stealing of money or possessions. This could also be done by someone acting as power of attorney or guardianship and using the document for monetary gain (Elder abuse: Definitions, n.d.).
One could recognize financial abuse or exploitation by noticing dramatic changes in bank accounts, missing objects around the home, person living in inadequate circumstances even though they have financial resources (CARIE, 2008). A person that would perform this abuse would have access to the person that is being abused bank account, home, or personal information, co artist that preys on the elderly. These persons could include family, in-home care persons, cohabiters, and con-artist. Persons that could recognize this type of abuse could be a banker, teller, family member, a friend, or someone that has constant contact with the person being abused. As Americans get older elder abuse is becoming more prevalent. In order to prevent elder abuse, everyone needs to be vigilant, keep an eye out, and make sure that loved ones are being cared for properly. It is everyone’s responsibility to report abuse to the property authorities. The best way to prevent elder abuse is by someone maintaining close ties and checking in on them to make sure everything is ok.