Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Elder Abuse In Nursing Homes: How to Spot It and What To Do

The term “elder abuse” can refer to several forms of abuse and occurs in homes, relatives’ homes and even in nursing homes of elderly adults. As men and women age and become dependent on others’ care, there are unscrupulous caregivers out there who take advantage of the situation. In the United States, more than half a million reports of abuse against the elderly reach authorities every year, meaning that several thousand cases go unreported.

Here are some of the different forms of elder abuse:

  1. Physical Abuse: Non-accidental use of force against an elderly person that results in physical pain, injury or impairment. This not only refers to physical assaults but also the inappropriate use of drugs, restraints, or confinement.
  2. Emotional Abuse: The way people speak to or treat elderly people in ways that cause emotional pain or distress. Verbal forms include intimidation through yelling, humiliation and habitual blaming. Nonverbal forms include ignoring the elderly person, isolation and terrorizing.
  3. Sexual Abuse: Contact without the elder’s consent. Such contact can involve physical sex acts, but also includes showing an elderly person pornographic material, forcing the person to watch sex acts or forcing the elder to undress.
  4. Neglect: Refers to the failure to fulfill a caretaking obligation and constitutes more than half of all reported cases of elder abuse. It can be intentional or unintentional.
  5. Financial Exploitation: The unauthorized use of an elderly person’s funds or property. Examples include misuse of an elder’s personal checks, credit cards or accounts, stolen cash, forging of the elder’s signature and identity theft.
  6. Healthcare Fraud and Abuse: Carried out by unethical doctors, nurses, hospital personnel, and other professional care providers. Examples include not providing healthcare but charging for it, overcharging or double-billing, getting kickbacks for referrals to other providers, overmedicating and Medicaid fraud.

In short, there are several forms of elder abuse, all of which can be very serious concerns in any elderly living scenario. Knowing the different forms of elder abuse is the first step. There are several ways to recognize if your loved ones are suffering if you are unsure. Then, alerting the right people is the crucial part.

Find Elder Abuse Resources to help further guide you and check out this Infograph to learn more.