Types of Elderly Abuse and Recognizing It

elderly abuse

It might seem obvious to understand when elderly abuse is taking place, however you would be surprised of how this problem is on the rise and how much it needs to be talked about.  Unfortunately, these abuses will even take place at nursing homes where our loved ones are supposed to be under care and comfort. Learning to recognize the signs can save your loved one’s life.  The types of abuse that have been seen and documented against elderly are:


Physical Abuse

Properly defined, physical abuse happens when there is use of physical force against someone and the person suffers bodily injuries, physical pain and even impairment. The following are forms of physical abuse:

·         Striking

·         Hitting

·         Beating

·         Pushing

·         Shoving

·         Shaking

·         Slapping

·         Kicking

·         Pinching

·         Burning

·         Force feeding

·         Physical punishment

·         Wrongful use of drugs

Look out for the following symptoms and signs that may be a result of physical abuse taking place:

·         Bruises

·         Lacerations

·         Restrain Marks

·         Black Eyes

·         Broken Bones

·         Cuts or Open Wounds

·         Sprains

·         Internal Injuries

·         Broken Eyeglasses

·         Evidence of Drug Misuse

·         Loved one exposing the mistreatment

·         Change in your loved one behavior

·         Refusal from the home to allow visits without “supervision”

Sexual Abuse

Properly defined, sexual abuse is considered non-consensual sexual contact in any way or form with the elder patient. If the person is not able to express consent to any sexual contact and it takes place, it is still considered sexual abuse. The following are forms of sexual abuse:

·         Unwanted touching

·         Rape

·         Sodomy

·         Coerced Nudity

·         Sexually Implicit Photographing

The following signs or symptoms may signs that your elderly loved one has been sexually abused by someone:

·         Bruised genital area or breasts

·         Infected genital area and unexplained STDs

·         Unexplained bleeding through vagina or anus

·         Underwear is torn or presents stains of blood

·         Loved one exposing the abuse

Emotional Abuse

This type of abuse, believe it or not, is as dangerous as the ones we just mentioned. It takes place when the person undergoes anguish, emotional pain and distress perpetrated by those who surround him or care for him. This can happen through verbal and non-verbal situations. The following are forms of emotional abuse:


·         Insults

·         Threats

·         Intimidation

·         Humiliation

·         Harassment

·         Verbal Assault

If you visit your loved one and you notice the following symptoms or signs, it might be due to some sort of emotional abuse:

·         Agitation

·         They seem upset

·         They seem distant and unresponsive

·         Unusual behavior (biting, sucking, rocking etc. )

·         Verbal report that he or she are being mistreated.

Neglect/ Desertion

Neglect surfaces when the caregiver refuses or fails to carry their duties as a caregiver and desertion happens when the caregiver abandons their loved one or the person they are caring for leaving them behind and unattended. Although they are slightly different, neglect usually leads to desertion.  Neglect and Desertion happens in any of the following cases: 

·         Caregiver neglects right feeding

·         Caregiver neglects proper hydration

·         Failure to provide proper clothing

·         Failure to shelter the care-receiver

·         Failure to provide proper personal hygiene

·         Failure to give medication

·         Failure to comfort the care-receiver

·         Failure to provide a safe environment

Pay attention to the following signs and symptoms that may derive from neglect or desertion and will require you immediate attention:

·         Dehydration, malnutrition, untreated bed sores

·         Unattended Health Conditions

·         Your loved one expresses the neglect and desertion

Financial or Material Exploitation

This is another type of abuse that is very common and unfortunate. When the person suffers from Alzheimer or a condition that does not allow him or her to manage their own accounts and material belongings, someone might try to take over everything they own.  To much dismay sometimes that someone is their caregiver. They can go as far as forging their signature, stealing their money, using their material possessions and more.  Financial and material exploitation takes place when the following or more happens:

·         Anomalies with bank accounts such as large withdrawals

·         New names on elder’s bank signature card

·         Unauthorized use of ATM card

·         Valuables go missing

·         Unpaid bills start surfacing

·         Forged signature on finances or titles

·         Uninvolved relatives show up claiming rights

·         The care-receiver expresses the abuse

·         and others…