In Florida every year, thousands of our state’s elderly are abused. Elderly abuse occurs not only in nursing homes, but can also occur in a senior’s own home, a relative’s home, or hospital. Elderly abuse comes in many different forms such as physically,emotionally and/or financially. By learning the signs of this mistreatment early on, you may not only prevent someone you know or a relative from being abused, but you will be reinforcing your own defenses and bringing more attention to the details that sometimes tell a story as to what is taking place. It’s a known fact, as we become older, especially in our senior years, we become more frail, less balanced, and face hearing difficulties as well as poorer eyesight. These degenerative deficiancies tend to leave openings for unscrupulous people to take advantage of the circumstances at hand.
Physical abuse is typically the most common and obvious form of mistreatment against an elder. The basic definition of this type of abuse is non-accidental use of force against a senior which results in bruises, contusions, lacerations, physical pain, injury, or impairment. This type of abuse also includes the inappropriate use of drugs, restraints, or confinement.
Emotional abuse, also known as psychological senior abuse is when people talk or treat seniors in ways that cause emotional pain and distress. For example, verbal threats are a form of emotional abuse. Another form is ridicule. Psychological elder abuse can also take the form of ignoring the elderly person, isolating the senior from friends or activities or terrorizing the elderly person.
In my next blog I’ll discuss in more detail the forms of elderly abuse and the characteristics involved in those forms.