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When an Elderly Loved One Is Being Abused

Elder abuse includes several types of mistreatment and violence inflicted on individuals who are more than 65 years old, usually by a caregiver or someone an elder trusts. The true scope of elder abuse in the United States is unknown, since many incidents go unreported.

There are six major types of elder abuse:

  • Physical abuse occurs when an elder is physically assaulted. An elder might be hit, kicked, slapped, burned or inappropriately restrained.
  • Sexual abuse occurs when there is any type of sexual contact or touching to which the elder does not or cannot consent.
  • Emotional or psychological abuse refers to any behaviors that cause emotional trauma to an elder, including threatening, humiliating, controlling, and limiting an elder’s access to money, the telephone, transportation or loved ones.
  • Neglect occurs when a caregiver fails to meet an elder’s basic physical, emotional and social needs, including adequate nutrition, clean housing, laundered clothing and access to medical care.
  • Abandonment happens when a caregiver willfully deserts an elder and fails to ensure continuation of care with a different caregiver.
  • Financial exploitation occurs when someone misuses an elder’s money, property or assets for personal gain.

A recent study showed that one in 10 elderly individuals reported some type of abuse in the preceding year. Elder abuse can occur in a variety of situations, including during an in-home care visit, at a nursing home or when an elder lives with a relative. While physical effects of abuse might be visible, emotional effects may be less obvious. Victims may become fearful, anxious and wary of other people. Listen closely to elders and immediately report abuse or suspected abuse to local authorities. It is also important to learn how to recognize signs of abuse and to understand the differences between elder abuse and the normal aging process.

If you think a loved one may have been abused by a caregiver, contact an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney for compassionate legal guidance.

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