7 types of elder abuse
Individuals trust a nursing home staff to provide the care and attention needed by an elderly loved one. Unfortunately, due to understaffing, poor training or intentional maliciousness, nursing home residents are often neglected or abused in numerous ways.
While many people only consider physical damage when discussing elder abuse, the National Center on Elder Abuse distinguishes seven different types of harm:
- Physical abuse: Telltale signs of physical abuse can include bruises, lacerations and broken bones. In general, this might be the most common and obvious form of nursing home abuse.
- Sexual abuse: This includes any unwanted or non-consensual sexual contact between a staff member and a resident.
- Emotional abuse: It is not uncommon for a staff member to inflict psychological harm on a resident through bullying or physical means such as locking the resident in a room as punishment.
- Financial exploitation: A nursing home staff member might steal money from a resident or get the resident to purchase things for them online. In extreme examples, the staff member might intimidate the resident into altering their estate plan to name the staff member as a beneficiary.
- Neglect: Nursing home residents require a specific level of care and attention. Whether it is being turned to prevent bed sores or providing medication at the appropriate times, neglecting a resident’s care can have disastrous effects.
- Abandonment: Abandonment is akin to desertion. The nursing home staff is responsible for the physical and mental well being of the resident. By ignoring their duties, the resident can suffer.
- Self-neglect: Based on emotional harm, physical damage or medication errors, the elderly might adopt behaviors that can threaten their own health and safety.
Nursing home elder abuse can be caused by numerous factors, including the improper use of physical or chemical restraints, medication errors, wandering, elopement, slips, trips and falls. It can be challenging to recognize the scope of the issue without a clear, national reporting mechanism. If you see signs of abuse in an elderly loved one – unexplained physical damage, emotional withdrawal, dehydration, malnutrition, unexplained financial changes – it is crucial that you act quickly to protect them and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.