When you think of the worst types of abuse, elder abuse might be at the top. This is when elderly individuals are left alone, mistreated or even hit. The abuse can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the severity of the incident. There are a few types of abuse that can take place, some that are intentional while others might not be done on purpose but deliver the same results.
When someone hits an elderly person or deprives that person of some of the basic needs of life, such as food and water, it’s considered physical abuse. The care giver could also deprive the person of medications that are needed for treatments. Hitting the person could include punching, burning, force feeding or scratching. At times, a care giver might not have the means to provide food for the person or might not be able to get the proper medications. While this is still abuse, it’s not intentional. The care giver should find help for the person instead of not providing these necessities.
This is a type of abuse that is often seen in medical settings, such as nursing homes. The person is ridiculed and made fun of, being made to feel guilty for things that are out of the person’s control. The care giver could inflict mental pain and embarrassment. Most of the time, this kind of abuse isn’t detected. The person will shut down and not talk to family members or friends. There could be fear when the abuser is present, which is an indication of mental abuse. Threats are a common type of emotional abuse with the care giver telling the person that basic needs will be withheld if anything is said or the physical harm will be a punishment.
Unfortunately, there are people who will abuse the elderly in a sexual manner. It’s not as common as some of the other types, but it does exist. It’s something else that also happens frequently at nursing homes and hospitals as care givers are usually left alone with the elderly patients.
An easy way to abuse the elderly without the person knowing is by taking money and using it for one’s personal gain. When a care giver is in charge of the finances, it’s easy to write checks or take money out of a bank account, saying that it’s for the elderly person before using the money for things that the care giver needs. Bank records should be examined by the family to see if there are any discrepancies with bills that are paid and money that the person has on hand as this is an indication that something is amiss financially.
If there are signs of elder abuse, the family can take pictures and document any abnormal behaviors that the person exhibits. This information can be given to an attorney so that charges can be filed.
Someone who has charges of elder abuse should document the events that have taken place. If the abuse is deemed unintentional, then the charges could be lowered, which would mean a lesser sentence compared to if the person purposely abused the elder.