Abuse can happen to anyone — no matter the person’s age, sex, race, religion, or ethnic or cultural background. Each year, hundreds of thousands of adults over the age of 60 are abused, neglected, or financially exploited.
Elder abuse is a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person. This type of violence constitutes a violation of human rights and includes physical, sexual, psychological, and emotional abuse; financial and material abuse; abandonment; neglect; and serious loss of dignity and respect.
Types of Abuse
Physical abuse happens when someone causes bodily harm by hitting, pushing, or slapping. This may also include restraining an older adult against his/her will, such as locking them in a room or tying them to a furniture.
Emotional abuse, sometimes called psychological abuse, can include a caregiver saying hurtful words, yelling, threatening, or repeatedly ignoring the older adult. Keeping that person from seeing close friends and relatives is another form of emotional abuse.
Neglect occurs when the caregiver does not try to respond to the older adult’s needs. This may include physical, emotional, and social needs, or withholding food, medications, or access to health care from the older adult.
Abandonment is leaving an older adult who needs help alone, without planning for his or her care.
Sexual abuse involves a caregiver forcing an older adult to watch or be part of unwanted sexual acts.
Financial abuse happens when money or belongings are stolen from an older adult. It can include forging checks, taking someone else’s retirement or Social Security benefits, or using a person’s credit cards and bank accounts without their permission. It also includes changing names on a will, bank account, life insurance policy, or title to a house without permission.
Who Can Help?
Elder abuse will not stop on its own. Someone else needs to step in and help. Many older adults are too ashamed to report mistreatment. Or, they’re afraid that if they make a report, it will get back to the abuser and make the situation worse.
If you think someone you know is being abused — physically, emotionally, or financially — talk with him or her when the two of you are alone. You could say you think something is wrong and you’re worried. Offer to take him or her to get help, for instance, at a local adult protective services agency.
Contact an Elder Emotional Abuse Attorney Today for Assistance
If you believe that someone you love is experiencing emotional elder abuse, contact The Cowlitz Law Group to request a free consultation. Elder emotional abuse can be more difficult to prove than other forms of abuse. You may need an attorney to help you gather evidence and bring a lawsuit. Call us today to speak to an elder abuse lawyer during a free consultation.