Elder abuse can be seen in a variety of forms. The most common are physical, sexual, emotional/psychological, financial/material and neglect (active or passive).
Physical abuse is any behavior that causes bodily harm or unnecessary pain. It not only includes obvious wounds and broken bones but actions like shoving and slapping. Using physical restraints as a punishment is also a form of physical abuse. Physical abuse is among the most common types of abuse, accounting for almost 25% of reported cases.
Sexual abuse is sexual contact of any type that is not consensual. It includes rape and molestation.
Emotional/Psychological abuse occurs when mental pain or anguish is inflicted on the elder person. The abuse can be verbal or nonverbal. It can include insults, threats of physical harm or isolation, humiliation of the elder person, name calling , and using demeaning language. This type of abuse accounts for about 35% of abuse cases.
Financial/Material abuse involves the misuse or exploitation of an elder person’s money or property without the elder person’s knowledge or consent. It includes theft, forcing or tricking the elder person into signing deeds or wills they don’t understand, and using the elder person’s money for personal gain.
Neglect occurs when the caregiver doesn’t meet the physical, emotional, or social needs of the elder person. This neglect doesn’t have to be intentional to be abusive. The caregiver may lack the skills, maturity, or resources to do their job properly. This type of neglect is passive. If the caregiver intentionally neglects the elder person, this abuse is called active abuse. These are the most typical types of abuse.
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